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Theatre

Dinosaur Zoo: Sydney’s Best Shows For Kids

#Dinosaur Zoo at the #Sydney Opera House via christineknight.me

While Cheese and I often see shows together, it’s rare that Alec comes along too. He’s just not usually interested in princess shows (what a surprise) or shows based on cartoons. But when I mentioned the new show at the Sydney Opera House, Dinosaur Zoo, he was in. Finally a show he could enjoy as well as Cheese and I.

Because, who doesn’t love dinosaurs? Dinos are fascinating for people of all ages and gender. They make a great subject for this new show playing at the Sydney Opera House April 4 – 19, 2015.

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Dinosaur Zoo is a fun blend of beautiful puppetry, impressive sound effects and comic humans driving the storyline.

The narrator, Graham, takes the audience on a an educational and fun journey where we learned about several dinosaurs that were discovered in Australia. None of the generic T-Rexes here. Only Aussie dinos, thank you very much. I found it refreshing to learn about these dinosaurs, none of whom I’d heard of before, and to see puppet replicas of them come to life before our eyes.

#Dinosaur Zoo at the #Sydney Opera House via christineknight.me

The show could very easily have been too scary for little kids had a different approach been taken. However, with the high level of interaction and frequent humour, the show was never going to freak out the littlies.

Graham introduced each dinosaur to the audience using the correct scientific terms the entire time. This is not a show that dumbs down science for kids. I was interested to see how the kids would respond to this, as there were a lot of younger kids in the audience, like Cheese. The kids, however, were rapped by the dinosaurs and there was very little fuss during the show that would indicate loss of interest. In fact it was the opposite, The kids were all hanging off Graham’s every word, desperate to be called down to the stage for their chance to pat a dinosaur.

The lesson here: never talk down to kids. Use big words. Kids will absorb them like the little sponges they are.

I was impressed by the quality of the puppets. They were incredibly done, and I found them to be very lifelike. I also liked the variety of dinosaurs used in the show. Babies, insects, carnivores and a big herbivore gave the show a good coverage of dinosaurs in general.

Cheese wasn’t selected to go up on stage, no matter how straight she stuck up her arm, but it didn’t matter as after the show two of the handlers brought out the babies to meet the audience in the foyer.

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If you arrive early, kids can enjoy the free creative play set up by the Sydney Opera House in the foyer, called “Echo Table”. By waving their arms over tables, kids can control the emerging patterns and reveal large pictures, like the Mona Lisa, hiding underneath.

School holidays at the Sydney Opera House

For a pre or post-show meal, if you’re after an option out of the theatre, downstairs is the newly-refurbished Opera Kitchen. The food is pricey ($17.50 for a small piece of quiche and fries, $22 for Alec’s OK burger and fries), and the choices for kids aren’t very healthy ($15.50 for a kids’ meal, all of which contain a small soft drink, chips and an ice cream).

Opera Kitchen at Sydney Opera House Opera Kitchen at Sydney Opera House

While the food was okay, it wasn’t spectacular, so unless you really want to sit and admire the view, I would suggest getting cheaper sandwiches (and a much healthier kids’ pack) from the theatre bar next to the drama studio in the Opera House instead. They offer a $7 Kids’ Box including: White bread cheese sandwich, brown bread vegemite sandwich, a banana or apple, Uncle Toby’s mango & passion fruit yoghurt bar, cheese stick, juice, and a party blower. Check out all the kids’ meal options at the Opera House here.

Dinosaur Zoo is playing at the Sydney Opera House April 4 – 19, 2015.
Suitable for children 5+
Tickets: $39 – $55
Run time: 50 minutes
Parking: If it’s a wet day and you need to drive, use the code “Opera” for discounted parking. Ours cost $9 instead of $15 on a Saturday.

Thank you to the Sydney Opera House for hosting us for this performance and for use of some of these images. All opinions are, as always, my own.

Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield Review

Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield via christineknight.me

After our wonderful Octonauts experience at the Sydney Sealife Aquarium a few months ago, Cheese has been very excited about seeing the Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield show. We finally saw the show over the weekend and both thoroughly enjoyed it. Said Cheese: “It was my favourite!”.

Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield via christineknight.me Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield via christineknight.me

This brand new show takes place in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, making it a fun and educational experience for the kids. The Great Barrier Reef is under attack, and it’s up to the Octonauts to find who is hurting the reef and to stop them.

Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield via christineknight.me

I thought I’d do this review a bit differently, and list what Cheese and I both enjoyed about the show.

Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield via christineknight.me

What Cheese enjoyed:
All of the characters from the TV show were there on stage.

She loved all the songs (there were 15 songs!).

She was equally scared by and enjoyed the grumpy coral.

She thought the sea snot cucumbers was both gross and funny.

Simple storyline she was able to follow.

The dancing: a lot of the characters actually danced!

Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield via christineknight.me
What I enjoyed:
Run time: Including a 20 minutes interval it went for about an hour and 20 minutes. Perfect for the attention span of little people.

It was fun: The show is very entertaining with very colourful and cute characters and lively songs.

It was educational: The villain of the show, the Crown of Thorns Starfish, has a propensity to eat coral. We learned how an outbreak of these animals can destroy a reef. We also learned about many of the animals that live in the reef and their part in keeping the reef healthy.

It was age appropriate: Everything about this show was perfect for preschoolers/young primary aged kids. The volume of the show, visuals, content, time of performance. It was extremely well done.

Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield via christineknight.me

Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield via christineknight.me

Thank you so much Life Like Touring and Octonauts for this very special experience.

Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield is touring Australia from 21 Feb to 28 March 2015. Tickets for Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield are on sale now at octonautslive.com.au.

Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield

#Octonauts at #Sydney #SeaLife #Aquarium via christineknight.me

If you have a preschooler, likely you know exactly who the Octonauts are, too. The popular TV show (it’s one of the 10 most watched TV shows in Australia) has been teaching kids about the importance of ocean conservation since it began airing on television two years ago.

The Octonauts are a team of eight quirky (and adorable) sea creatures, led by Captain Barnacles (a polar bear), whose mission it is to explore underwater worlds, rescue sea creatures and protect the ocean.

By watching this TV show, Cheese has learned a great deal about ocean life, such as that jelly fish sting, and sharks are dangerous. Unlike a lot of shows that I’m pretty sure rot the brain (don’t get me started on those horrible egg unwrapping YouTube videos), Octonauts is something I’m happy for my daughter to be watching on TV as it’s so educational.

If your kid is also an Octonauts lover, they’ll be excited to hear about the Australian world premiere of the Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield show, a live adventure musical touring Australia from 21 Feb to 28 March 2015. The show features all of the show’s beloved characters, transformed into lifelike walkaround costumes (like the Captain Barnacles in the pictures, whom we were lucky enough to recently meet). Expect to hear the famous “Creature Report” song, The Octonauts theme song, plus 15 new songs sung by the Octonauts as well as a colourful array of Australian reef creatures.

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Cheese is a massive fan of The Octonauts, as you can see from her face in these photos. We were lucky enough to be invited on a tour of Sydney Sea Life with Captain Barnacles himself.

#Octonauts at #Sydney #SeaLife #Aquarium via christineknight.me

As we walked through the aquarium, we met all kinds of special Australian reef creatures, such as the Crown of Thorns Starfish, with whom Captain Barnacles is going to face his scariest threat ever in the live show (this starfish has got some epic big, sharp spikes, so I can believe he’d be scary when he’s not behind glass!).

#Octonauts at #Sydney #SeaLife #Aquarium via christineknight.me #Octonauts at #Sydney #SeaLife #Aquarium via christineknight.me #Octonauts at #Sydney #SeaLife #Aquarium via christineknight.me #Octonauts at #Sydney #SeaLife #Aquarium via christineknight.me #Octonauts at #Sydney #SeaLife #Aquarium via christineknight.me

Thank you so much Life Like Touring and Octonauts for this very special experience.

Does your Octonauts fan want to see their heroes live, too? Tickets for Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield are on sale now at octonautslive.com.au.

The Tiger Who Came To Tea: Sydney’s Best Shows For Kids

The Tiger Who Came To Tea via christineknight.me

Growing up, The Tiger Who Came To Tea was a favourite book of mine. It’s such a fun concept, a tiger knocking on a door and asking to stay for tea, to a family who, while a bit surprised, don’t seem as surprised as you or I might be at a talking tiger appearing at their door and devouring not them, but their cake, sandwiches and tea. Utterly ridiculous and completely charming. Written by Judith Kerr in 1968, the book is still relevant today, as shown by the enduring success of the book, and current success of this stage show.

Several months back, I was at the Sydney Opera House with Cheese and friends at one of their Babies Proms. As we left the theatre, we were amazed to see a huge tiger (note: man dressed as tiger, not ACTUAL tiger) sitting down at a fancy high tea and having his photo taken. Turned out these shots were press pics for the new The Tiger Who Came To Tea show, which opened last week.

The girls wanted to have their photo taken with the tiger, hence the opening photo, and today we finally saw The Tiger Who Came To Tea show live.

tiger-who-came-to-tea-2

As in the book, the show invites us into the lives of Sophie and her family, as they are faced with an unexpected, mayhem-inducing tea guest. The show closely follows the book, with some added details that give a bit more background into Sophie and her families’ lives. Fun songs break up the dialogue, and there is a delightfully silly dance number in the middle of the show that has the audience on their feet, brandishing their tiger claws and swishing their imaginary tails.

Another great interactive moment comes towards the end of the show, with an easy sing-a-long. The producers of the show have really done a fantastic job to create the perfect show for their target audience (kids aged 3-5-ish). The run time of 50 minutes was perfect for short attention spans, too.

Our group of two three-year-olds and one five-year-old thoroughly enjoyed the show. The wiggly three-year-olds were so mesmerised by the tiger and rest of the performance that they forgot to be wiggley, and the five-year-old laughed constantly at the physical humour (perfect casting too!).

The Tiger Who Came To Tea via christineknight.me

If you’re in Sydney next week with little kids, take them to see The Tiger That Came To Tea. Our discerning mini-theatre goers give it several very enthusiastic thumbs up.

The Tiger Who Came To Tea via christineknight.me

The Tiger Who Came To Tea is showing at the Sydney Opera House until December 28. Recommended for children aged 3+.