In a darkened theatre, I sat cross-legged on a cushion watching my babes leaping, twirling and chasing creatures made of light beams.
We had entered the Planet of the Beetlebuns, where our square stage was both a magic carpet and an interactive screen inviting children to play among projections of colour and sound.
Presented by Gobbledegook, a new arts company developing interactive video art projects for families, the Planet of the Beetlebuns was an enchanting show at Sadler’s Wells theatre aimed at under 5s.
After our hostess set the scene and gave us some ground rules (no adults allowed on the carpet), the adventure began with startling images of plant life, machinery or insects popping up at the touch of a foot or hand.
The installation used motion capture cameras to allow each child to become a mini creator. It was thrilling hearing their squeals of wonder and watching how the kids engaged with the visuals and lost their inhibitions under the spotlight.
At several points, the children were split by age groups so that babies under 2 could explore without fear of being crushed underfoot.
I’ve been to many shows at Sadler’s Wells in the pre-baby era when I was so moved by the performances I wanted to jump right up on stage.
So I loved seeing the kids get totally caught up in this strange planet. And when next will I get to capture images of my little ones dancing on the moon?
Planet of the Beetlebuns was developed by Gobbledegook founders, artists Frauke Franz and Sean Westgate, in collaboration with various children’s centres in Hackney.
It’s a wonderful, multi-sensory experience that would entrance babies of any age and had the parents equally hooked.
‘This is our first time at Sadler’s Wells,’ Jo says, ‘I thought the show was fantastic, especially for the younger ones. I really captured their imagination.’ Violet adds, ‘I liked chasing the butterflies and standing on the moon.’
Book tickets for the next showing of Planet of the BeetleBuns at Stratford Circus (May 6 & 7)
Visit Sadler’s Wells web site to find out about upcoming shows suitable for kids
Follow Gobbledegook online