On Friday 28th October we were invited to the Northern Ballet’s Goldilocks & the Three Bears. Luca was asked by First Direct to attend as a mini critic and they sent him a pack to help him with his important role. This included a good old fashioned disposable camera, which he never put down, and a personalised notepad and pencil. It also included lots of goodies to throw a teddy bear picnic for his new teddy to help get him in the mood for the ballet.
His little face when he woke up on Friday morning to a teddy bear picnic breakfast was brilliant. It really set the mood for the day and between finishing his breakfast and setting off for the ballet, every five minutes saw him ask “Are we going now?”. When it was time to he was more than ready. Can you tell?
— WonderfulChaos (@franki_s) October 28, 2016
Luca took his job as mini critic very seriously, making sure he had his camera and notepad on him when we did eventually set off. Driving there he kept asking me how to spell words so that he could write them down without forgetting. The most common word being ‘excited’. Excited he definitely was, none stop talking the whole drive there, he was so giddy.
He wasn’t the only one. I was also very excited to be taking Luca to the ballet. I’ve been to the ballet a few times but Luca hasn’t. However, he’s been a fan of the Cbeebies ballets, like The Three Little Pigs and Tortoise & the Hare, also performed by Northern Ballet, so I was pretty confident that he would enjoy a live one even more.
When we arrived, we were greeted with crafts and activities to take part in. Luca made a goldilocks headband and a bear headband, which I then had to wear.
He also had to try sitting on the massive Daddy Bear chair too, which as I’m sure you can imagine there was a huge queue for. I promise he was happier than his face would have you believe.
When the doors were opened for the performance Luca couldn’t wait to get in. With a booster cushion in hand, nice touch for the little ones, we found our seats and made ourselves comfy.
I wasn’t wrong in thinking Luca would like it, he was completely sucked in from the first note played by the orchestra. I spent most of the performance watching Luca’s reaction to what he was seeing. He was lost, totally enthralled with what was happening on stage. With it being a ballet, and therefore not narrated, I was concerned Luca might not fully understand what was going on. I need not have worried, he even told me to “shush” at one point when I tried to talk to him.
Once the ballet had finished we were invited onto the stage to see the set up close and get a sneak peek backstage.
He was shown how all the parts of the set work, got to go through the cottage door and ask any questions he may have. Including one about paintbrushes screwed onto the bottom of the doors. Apparently it’s a top trade secret to help stop doors swinging. All the little extras really make the set come alive. Below is a picture of one of the bears from inside the cottage. The picture is of the actual dancer. Such thought and detail really makes the experience come alive.
We were then allowed to go upstairs into the control room to see how all the lights on the stage work. Luca was sat in the hot seat and had a go at changing the lights on stage. He really felt like a VIP.
My waffle aside, I’m going to hand over to Luca, after all he was the ‘Mini Critic’. Here is what he thought of the day.
When we left the ballet I asked Luca, “so what did you think to it?
Good, good, super good. It was cool. (gives a thumbs up).
Why was it cool?
Because it had the three bears and they were really silly. They were cool.
What was your favourite bit?
Where the bears fall over. And when baby bears chair broke. Goldilocks sat on it and broke it and it didn’t go back together. It did though, when that man showed us how after but the bears couldn’t put it back together.
It was funny wasn’t it.
Yes. It made me do my loud laugh.
Would you tell your friends to go see it?
Yes! (thumbs up again)
I thought it was a bit magical watching it? What did you think?
It was magical, and funny, and colourful and I really liked it. I liked it so much I forgot to eat my bear biscuit. (we took Luca a gingerbread bear in to eat during the performance)
Overall I think we would both definitely recommend going to see Northern Ballet’s Goldilocks & the Three Bears. Luca was sucked in from beginning to end. It was the perfect length for kids to watch at about 40 minutes. Luca didn’t get bored at any point and the characters all had really different personalities portrayed throughout the dance, meaning it was very easy for Luca to choose his favourite, Baby Bear.
I think I enjoyed it just as much as Luca did and we will be keeping our eyes peeled for future performances, especially with tickets being so reasonably priced. You can see more photos from the day and what the other Mini Critics had to say on the First Direct site.
Northern Ballet’s Goldilocks & the Three Bears is now on tour, and with performances from Aylesbury to Yeovil they are bound to be coming to a theatre near you soon. You can see all dates and book tickets here.
Thank you so much First Direct for inviting Luca to his first ever ballet, we had an amazing day.
*Disclosure – We were invited to this performance by First Direct, therefore we were gifted our tickets and some extra goodies for the teddy bear picnic. However, all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own, or Luca’s*