From Jamie’s School Dinners to Honey, We’re Killing The Kids, there’s no shortage of advice on how to feed our children. But perhaps the most successful TV programme to combat rising levels of childhood obesity, is aimed at the kids themselves. Created in Iceland, and now broadcast in 103 countries worldwide, LazyTown knows exactly how to push children’s buttons.
Through a clever use of language, and a distinct lack of preaching, LazyTown makes healthy eating and exercise look like the most fun you can have all year. Apples become ‘sports candy’, and terms such as ‘training’ are eschewed in favour of ‘practising’ – something all kids can do without the pressure to achieve. Already a big hit on TV, BAFTA-winning LazyTown has now been adapted for the stage.
Director, Richard Lewis explains why the programme has become such a global phenomenon. ‘Kids are immediately drawn to the colour and spectacle,’ he says. ‘It’s so vibrant it leaps out at you. And new things happen all the time – such as a fast edit, a song or a backflip. Plus all the characters are simple archetypes, and that makes it very accessible for kids.’
Not all of that can be transferred to the stage, of course. But all the characters are there – pink-haired Stephanie, slothful Robbie Rotten and hero Sportacus (played by a UK cast) – and according to Lewis, LazyTown Live! gains more than it loses by swapping TV for theatre. ‘The set has all the vibrant colour of Lazytown, and the actions and gestures have sound effects just like the TV show,’ says Lewis. ‘But we also have the opportunity to interact with the audience in a way that TV can’t.’ (Kelly Apter)
King’s Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 17–Sat 20 Oct; Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri 22 & Sat 23 Feb