There are a lot of creative ways that people have come up with to simultaneously market to young children and separate their parents from money. A pioneer in this field was Walt Disney. Walt entertained children and made a fortune doing it.
Much of the stuff geared to children finds its way into our homes via television. Some of this programming is entertaining to children but like constant fingernails scraping on chalkboards to their parents. Teletubbies and Barney come to mind in this category. Other programs are more like Pixar animation, geared for kids but with something there that adults can enjoy also. For me The Wiggles is in this more creative group.
Last night, my wife and I took our three-year-old son to see the 2008 version of their road show. The show entitled Pop Goes The Wiggles Live! was ninety minutes long and featured The Wiggles and all their friends: Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, Henry the Octopus and Captain Feathersword. In addition there were many extras on the stage as well.
It was my first time to see Sam. He is the new Wiggle that replaced the ailing Greg. Sam was good. He knew his part and seemed comfortable with the other members of the group. His vocal range was close to Greg’s and he was able to sing and dance his way through the show.
What amazed me most was physical nature of the whole act. There was lots of running and jumping. In addition, The Wiggles exhibited limberness that would be expected more from Jackie Chan that a group of guys that sing silly children’s songs. Lets face it, the Wiggles are getting into middle age and yet they can do the splits and limbo! I would expect some of their moves from someone trained in ballet but not from some guys that majored in child development.
Some of the music they did was prerecorded but much of it was actually done live. Again, it was impressive. They did many of my favorite songs during the show. Can You Point Your Finger and Do the Twist, Fruit Salad and Rock-a-bye Your Bear. They also did an instrumental version of The Knack’s My Sharona. Big Red Car was the last number in the show.
Our seats were about forty feet from the stage. There was lots of audience singing and clapping. Many children brought roses for Dorothy (according to Wiggles lore, Dorothy eats roses) and there were a few bones for Wags the Dog. Some children brought handmade signs that they held-up during the show.
My wife and I enjoyed the show. However, it was a bit overwhelming for our three year old. He experienced sensory overload. He spent much of the show in my lap just playing with the Wiggles stickers that were in our seats when we arrived.
I would like to see The Wiggles again in about two years. By then I think my son will enjoy it more. If you have a chance go see them please borrow a kid and go. I think even my high school aged daughter would have enjoyed the show.