Preview: Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom Live
Nickelodeon’s dynamic duo go on tour in a show that replicates their famous Kingdom
This article is from 2015.
From Peppa Pig to The Octonauts, Richard Lewis has become a pre-school sensation – although most of his young audience will have no idea who he is.
In recent years, theatre director Lewis has swapped grown-up shows for some of the biggest hitters in children’s theatre, the latest of which is Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom. Turning the Nickelodeon TV show into an all-singing, all-dancing stage production hasn’t been easy – but for Lewis, it’s all about the look and feel.
Half masks have been used to give the performers the right faces, yet still allow them to speak and sing, set and costumes emulate the animation, and the storyline features locations in the Kingdom plus a surprise party.
Having spent hour upon hour watching Ben Elf, Holly, Gaston the ladybird and the rest of their friends on-screen, young audiences have a certain expectation – and Lewis doesn’t want to let them down.
‘They need to come into the theatre and see that the Kingdom looks like it should,’ he says. ‘And that’s their first reassurance. Then we take the essence of that and replicate it elsewhere with the colour tones, which all look as they do on TV, so the world looks right. Then we spend ages trying to get the voices right. But ultimately, children transport really quickly from the television to the live show.’