Blippi - musical theatre for the under 5s
“I’m an excavatorExcavator Hey, dirt, see you later I’m an excavator
Lyric from the Excavator Song
Blippi has become a phenomenon for pre-school children through You Tube videos which tick the educational content box. Blippi has a billion downloads a month. It is essentially made for America and there are some words which are American English rather than British English, for example, truck for lorry and dirt for earth or soil.
I took my granddaughter whose mother is American so she is bi-lingually English and American. I was very conscious of the differences when Blippi introduced a song designed to help children learn the months of the year with slides illustrating each month. Fireworks in January and apples in August, ghosts at Halloween in October are easily understood, even the Stars and Stripes of the flag in July but the turkey and pecan pie for Thanksgiving in November might be less so.
The show has bright colours centred on Blippi himself with blue shirt, orange bow tie and braces (or suspenders for America) and those orange glasses and blue and orange cap. The big machine is a party machine in those same colours (or colors) which needs a black girl mechanic Meekah to fix it.
The show will also teach children how to brush their teeth using giant toothbrushes and illustrate words beginning with the letter P which reminded me of Sesame Street “brought to you by the Letter P and the number 7”. In the Blippi videos, as items are introduced, the word appears on the screen for whole word recognition for pre-readers.
There are dinosaurs, under sea scenes and lots of trucks and the highlight for many of the small people audience was the Excavator Song with arm actions lifting piles of dirt. The show addresses sexism in content but of course as is so often in levelling, traditional male areas of interest are projected, like cars and trucks for girls rather than knitting and sewing for boys.
My granddaughter, having been brought up to value dinosaurs and trucks, was in her element and I think the big truck with its enormous wheels was her favourite (favorite). She has visited a fire station, put on the uniform, climbed in the cab and helped hold the water hose and loves ambulances. At least the Blippi show makes a change from all those “princess” peer pressures for girls to believe in prince charming with the ultimate achievement being marriage to a royal. As if!
This fun show is coming back for the Christmas holidays to the Lyric Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue but be aware the full price of central stalls tickets is £32 each.
Starring Clayton Grimm’s anonymous lookalike
Clayton Grimm’s lookalike
Several anonymous dancers and singers
and Carter Dixon McGill
Running Time: One hour 20 minutes with a very short interval
Booking to 3rd September 2022
at the Apollo Theatre
7th December 2022
to 8th January 2023
at the Lyric Theatre
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge
at the Apollo Theatre
on 22nd August 2022 at 10.30am