Mr Poppers Penguins is a musical adaptation of the popular children’s book of the same name by Richard and Florence Atwater that was first published in 1938.
Before I go into a bit more about the story and my thoughts on the show, it’s worth saying a few words about the type of show you’re in for to manage your expectations. It’s essentially a musical stage show, not unlike any other theatrical musical you may have seen. I’m not so sure everyone in the audience on the day we attended had done their homework. I saw a few people exit and not return! But please don’t let that sway your decision on attending. The kids and I (and oddly my other half) thought it was a delightful and heart-warming way to spend an hour as a family.
So, a bit more on the story now…
Welcome to Stillwater. The town where everyone will fit in, including Mr Popper, a painter and decorator, who wants to be so much more and travel the world exploring, especially the Antarctic.
Mr Popper imagines exploring snowy landscapes while white sheets are being shaken in the background by the three other cast members. The cast is only 4 strong so there’s clever use of props like this to help create a a bit of character (especially with the penguins, but more on this later).
He sends a letter to one of his heroes explorer Admiral Drake in the South Pole who then sends him a penguin who he names Captain Cook. I wont give too many spoilers, but lets just say the penguin cast expands fairly quickly!
Now, as for those penguins. They are beautifully animated and ‘voiced’ by the cast. There are moments where the penguins really are quite enchanting.
The score creates a bit of nostalgia in keeping with the era the original book and is accompanied some catchy lyrics.
There’s a nice little surprise at the end, but I won’t spoil that for you either. But lets just say my kids loved it!!
Overall, we really enjoyed Mr Poppers Penguins. It was a nice change for us to go and see something together as a family that wasn’t another animated movie. Having the kids understand that entertainment isn’t just cartoons and iPads is so important in todays tech flooded world.
Go and see it if you have a chance. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as we did. It runs until 6 January 2019.
Oh…and go prepared to, erm, take part in the show!!! (Still no spoilers!!)