The recent Paddington Bear films have made him a fan favourite with adults and children alike. Paddington Bear's First Concert capitalises on this love for our Peruvian friend as we're told about Paddington's journey to London and his first trip to the Royal Albert Hall, accompanied by a versatile five person orchestra.
The performance is an interactive and sensory experience for the children. There's a Hungarian dance they can join in, giant inflatable apples and bananas to throw at the greengrocer from Portobello market, and a marmalade song to sing along with. There's a particularly lovely moment when the narrator brings round a music box that has glowing light balls and fairy lights as the orchestra plays the tune. After the show the musicians are all outside, and the children are able to ask questions about each instruments and hold down keys, much to their excitement.
Ideally there should be more Paddington in a show called Paddington Bear's First Concert. The small toy bear on the stage, doesn't really do the title justice. There are also moments when the story feels quite dated, like when Paddington speaks about meeting a snake charmer in Africa or carnival dancers in the West Indies. The book is a classic, but it just seems strange to teach very young children exocitism when you can't imagine adults tolerating something similar.
This is a perfect way to introduce your little ones to orchestral music, but there are other stories that could do the job without the worry of having to explain to your child that Africa isn't a strange and mystical land.
Please look after this bear.