Dear Father Hood: is Milkshake! live any good?
Milkshakes. Milkshakes. Milkshakes. In my 20s, I associated these calcium-packed drinks with Kelis bringing all the boys to her yard. In my early 30s, I associated them with eating and drinking too much at Byron Burger. Now, I associate them with television. Or to be more specific, Channel 5’s early morning kids’ TV franchise, Milkshake! This 6am-9.15am parental life-saver features shows like Bob the Builder, Shimmer and Shine, Thomas the Tank Engine and, my son’s personal favourite, Fireman Sam.
At last count, we had 62 episodes of Fireman Sam stored on our Sky box, which, while exciting, is not anywhere as exhilarating as the news that Milkshake! is currently touring the country with its Milkshake! Live The Magic Story Book show featuring children’s entertainment megastars like Noddy, Wissper and Milkshake! Monkey. I know, people. I KNOW!
But what happens in said show, is it any good, and how old do kids need to be in order to enjoy it? I don’t know and I don’t care. Only joking. Having taken my two-year-old son to see Milkshake! live last Saturday, I can exclusively reveal the following…
1. The price is probably right
I’ve ummed. I’ve aahed. I’ve wabbadabbadobaaad. And after all this, I’ve decided that the Milkshake! live ticket prices are probably fair enough. This doesn’t mean they are cheap (our tickets were £16 for adults and £14.50 for kids). It just means that, given the fact you are in a theatre, the quality of the production, the number of characters your little ones get to see, and the extortionate cost of just about every day out with a child, those prices are about right.
2. It was longer than I expected
Pop quiz, ladies and gentlemen: what is the longest film of all time? Too slow, the answer is 2012 Swedish experimental art movie Logistics, which goes on for a staggering 35 days and 17 hours. The good news is Milkshake! live is nowhere near this long. The bad news is it does last around two hours (2×45 minute acts, plus a 30-minute interval), which was about 30 minutes too long for my toddler, and most of the other kids around his age.
3. The story is pretty good
I don’t want to reveal too much. But if I said the words, “James”, “Bond”, “hippopotamus”, “tank”, “Thomas” and “engine”, then I’d be giving you no insight whatsoever. On the other hand, if I said “Milkshake”, “monkey”, “quest”, “Prince”, “fairy” and “godmother”, then you’d have some idea of the festivities that await.
4. My son absolutely lost it when Fireman Sam came out
And I mean absolutely lost it. I’m talking elation to the point of near spontaneous combustion. Think a teenager at a Bieber concert. A football fan celebrating a last-minute winner. A new dad on the first night of a stag do. A woman in labour who has just had her epidural kick in…
5. The audience wasn’t as raucous as I thought it was going to be
My expectation: screams, tantrums, poo smells, vomit, sugar highs, sugar crashes, issues with sharing, the odd toddler storming the stage and a significant number of parents vowing to never have sex again in case it created another devil child. The reality: a fairly quiet collection of children who were transfixed by their heroes. As someone who likes carnage, I found this a tad disappointing.
6. Not many parents got involved in the audience participation parts
As someone who likes openly booing pantomime villains – and has very poor voice volume control – I found this a tad disappointing.
7. It might be worth swotting up on Milkshake!’s roster of characters before you go
While my son absolutely loved the three sketches where he knew the characters (Fireman Sam, Noddy, Bob the Builder), he was less interested in the other scenes. A bit of pre-event homework might have changed this, boosted his enjoyment levels and helped us fill social media with more pictures of him looking deliriously happy. Which, as we all know, is the number one goal of pretty much every modern parent.
8. One dad walked in with a beer and bought another one at half-time
To quote Salt-N-Pepa, whatta man, whatta a man, whatta man, whatta mighty good man.
9. It’s fine for kids aged two and above
Prior to this event, I was concerned that we’d “gone a bit too early” and it would all be a bit much for our two-year-old. I needn’t have worried. Yes, it was a little long. And yes, some of the characters confused him. But when you add his smiles, to his dancing, counting out loud and copying of the presenters’ hand actions it equals two huge, toddler thumbs up for Milkshake! live.
10. It could be coming to a theatre near you
This is not a drill. Repeat: this is not a drill. The Milkshake! live tour continues until June. See the dates and book tickets here…