This review is from 2019. ‘Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever’ returns for 2021.
For a piglet often depicted as being rather bolshy, it turns out Peppa has a relatively undemanding definition of ‘Best Day Ever’. Spoiler alert, but said big day involves a lengthy wait at some roadworks, followed by a trip to some caves, followed by a visit to a castle. It suggests that Mummy and Daddy Pig – presumably English Heritage members – have got their eldest child well trained.
Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever’ is not a million miles away from its predecessors (‘Peppa Pig’s Surprise’, ‘Peppa Pig’s Adventure’), insofar as the bulbous puppets and costumes (probably the same puppets and costumes) representing our heroine and her pals are joined by Daisy, a peppy human interlocutor, who accompanies the Pig family on their trip and bulks out the two-part show with what feels like endless songs.
It is an entertaining litany of beloved characters that never feels quite like a show: the giant puppet animals are frankly a bit weird and distant-looking, the script never achieves the subversive silliness of the cartoon, and the manifold songs feel less like necessary story padding, more like a deliberate way of reducing the need for the animal stars to carry the show.
Some of the stronger bits are the ones less to do with the cartoon, more rooted in theatre tradition – a black light scene when Peppa and pals are rhapsodising about various unhealthy foodstuffs was a particular hit with the audience I saw it with. There is also a dragon, which is ridiculous – everyone knows that, canonically, the dragons in ‘Peppa’ only ever appear in dream sequences – but the puppet brings some much needed wow factor.
It’s a great way to divert your own little piggies for 90 minutes. But it’s a little on the lowest-common-denominator side: sincerely, there is a better ‘Peppa’ stage show waiting to be made.