Children’s TV favourites Peppa Pig and George come to the Waterside this weekend, in a new show by a puppeteer who has worked on everything from Spitting Image to Dr Who and The Muppets
The tale begins in the garden, where Peppa’s super cheery friend Daisy suggests they go on a treasure hunt.
During the show the actors remain on stage at all times and provide the voices for the characters.
Puppetry Consultant Nigel Plaskitt said: “Children see puppets as similar to their own toys, which they bring to life at home while playing. That’s why children don’t really notice the puppeteer.
“Adults, on the other hand, do. When they first begin watching Peppa Pig’s Treasure Hunt they’ll find it takes them a minute or two to adjust.
“But children have this ability to instantly suspend disbelief, so that whether the character is real or not becomes irrelevant towards their enjoyment of what they are watching.
“With this show, we also decided against animatronics, as we didn’t feel there was a need to make Peppa and her pals any more believable than they already were. After all Miss Piggy went around for years without ever blinking.
“Choosing to use puppets was a risk, but I knew it would work much better than using adults dancing around in costumes for this kind of show.
“Costumes can be cumbersome on stage and to a child they can be quite terrifying.”
Nigel jokes that if Peppa Pig was 5ft tall then Daddy Pig would be 10ft and ‘more like a hot air balloon’.
During the show Peppa and her friends - audience included - will sing along to their favourite songs, play games and jump in muddy puddles. Meanwhile Daddy Pig goes from one scrape to another, anxious Mummy Pig tries to bring a sense of order to the day and George obsesses about dinosaurs.
Nigel said: “I think what has happened over the years in children’s television is that while people have been looking for the next new thing, they have not realised we were right with what we were doing in the first place.
“In the 1980s, we were being told that what had been done in the 1970s was old hat. It was thought by some that children’s attention spans were becoming shorter, so programmes had to become fast-moving, with lots of cutting and shouting to keep them alert. None of that is true.
“I think this is what Peppa Pig has hit upon. It has gone back to that simplistic, slower-paced way of presenting a children’s programme that’s not too in your face and has a much nicer feel to it.”
For tickets and show times visit www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury