Wow. Okay, we got back just now from a fabulous afternoon at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue – where we got to see Dora The Explorer Live – in her search for the City of Lost Toys.
What we love the most about Dora is how interactive it is – you’re invited to shout out and join in, and particularly in the case of M, yell at the top of your voice “SWIPER NO SWIPING!!!” in an absolutely brilliant way – it was a joy to watch, it really was. H was quite reserved to start with, though was soon dancing like a butterfly and pointing or shouting to Dora where things were, and got into the swing of it fairly quickly.
So, the story? It’s your usual Dora – something is wrong, it needs fixing and there’s two major obstacles as revealed by The Map which everyone must remember – this time she’s lost her teddy bear, so they need to get to the City of Lost Toys. There’s the familiar songs, lots of audience interaction an interval of 20 minutes (which makes the total running time of the show an hour and a half – it started at 3.30 and was over by 5pm) and a fabulous ‘We Did It’ finale which I wont spoil (though the photos *may* give it away a little bit).
Dora’s friends are all present, so that’s Boots, Tico, Benny, Isa and of course Backpack and Map – as well as special appearances by Swiper the Fox and her cousin Diego (from the ‘Go Diego Go!’ series, of course).
We were handed out a little star which is used a lot in the audience participation throughout the show – so keep yours safe if you’re going – you’ll need it more than once. The Official Programme folds out into a large poster too – so make sure you’ve got an A4 sized bag to take it home in if you don’t want to spoil it.
There’s plenty of merchandise on sale, though they didn’t take cards so we didn’t get anything (possibly a good thing so soon after H’s birthday, mind – she wanted a Boots doll) – everything is reasonably priced and not too expensive.
As far as the show goes, we were impressed with it – the characters mouths don’t move, so remain fixed the whole time, and it’s miming to an existing track rather than their own voices (which I’d never seen before), which took no time at all to get used to. Afterwards we were chatting about how as adults you find characters believable and it can be any kind of show – and how the Dora characters (especially Dora and Diego) were all excellent. My friend Heather who came with us has plenty of experience of this, having toured with Bob the Builder in the past – and was also impressed. We liked the numbers section and love how the show can have educational elements and keep the kids entertained – learning being fun is a very good thing.
More from Heather; “Tico and Benny were excellent too – I thought them and Diego were the best acting wise, (if you can believe in someone in a huge stuffed costume at all!) but they were clearly all dancers (especially Boots) so lots of energy which is really important when in costume. I’d have loved the finale to have gone on a bit longer as everyone seemed to be really getting into it then and it felt like it stopped a bit abruptly but that might just be me.”
Ultimately, the best reviews come from the fans – so that’ll be H and her friend M. Both loved it – we were able to ask them which parts were their favourite, and both were able to mention parts of the show we’d not thought of (H was particularly random with “Boots and his red bus”), as well as the other kids present. I loved the finale, it was a good end to a fun show and one that kept them amused too – with of course more obligatory shouting at Swiper.
Dora The Explorer – LIVE! Search for the City of Lost Toys is showing NOW at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue – here’s the info:
Dates: 28 August – 16 September 2012
Performances : Monday – Sunday 10.30am/1.00pm/3.30pm*
*Please see full performance schedule on the website for dates with no 3.30pm performances
Ticket prices: £13.00, £18.00, £25.00 (premium)
Prices include a 50p restoration levy
I received complimentary tickets for the show (though would have bought some anyway) – all opinions are our own and honest.