Our adventure to see the ‘Three Excellent Little Pigs’ could not have gone more wrong if we’d have tried. Feeling and looking thoroughly wind swept from our brisk walk on the seafront, having unfortunately arrived late due to a lost debit card, we sadly missed the first few minutes of the show. At this point my son was at a seven out of ten on the tantrum scale, as many a parent or carer will know, this meant we needed an appropriate distraction which provided instant calm and engagement.

Luckily, this was what the ‘Three Excellent Little Pigs’ were able to deliver straight away.

The families already present upon our arrival were ‘sitting nicely’ and clearly enchanted with the show. The initial part of the performance was intimate and contained, the performers were, whether intentional or not, soothing. Some people just have voices made for storytelling and are gifted with the ability to draw you into a story, allowing you the audience member to embrace the journey.

Through beautiful narration and masterful operation of the pigs and wolf, ‘Al Start’s’ adaptation of the ‘Three Excellent Pigs’ was brought to life. The pigs themselves were super cute, came in two sizes and the set was bright and inviting.

An important part of the performance which made it perfect for toddlers were the informal short performance breaks for changes of scene, ideal to give little fidget bottoms the opportunity to have a waddle. Particularly, the performers bringing the mini pigs into the audience to cross over every member of the audiences ‘hand bridge’ was lovely and something I appreciated. Audience participation is essential in child centered activities and helps children to feel included, making the performance all the more special.

The most memorable part of the show, which was also my son’s favourite performance, was the introduction of the wolf. Through clever use of props, lighting and UV paint the performance area was transformed. I really loved how we were able to learn so much about the wolf’s personality in this exciting short scene.

The variation in performance and sizes of the pigs was creative; I personally really appreciate simplicity in performances designed for children, and see that the real talent is in how the story is told and the capability of the performers. The ability of the ‘Three Excellent Pigs’ cast was so abundant that they would easily be able to adapt this as a standalone performance without the use of the props, but it was of course all the better for them!

Three Excellent Little Pigs
Three Excellent Little Pigs

The Old Market was a great venue for the show, having never been to a performance of this kind at this setting I was excited to see the space being used in this way and given the size of the venue there was more than enough room to safely store buggies and for toddlers to charge around post performance.

Quirky and curious ‘Three Excellent Little Pigs’ really was most excellent; the characters personalities were well created and maintained throughout. Well written and well-rehearsed, the performers sang the shows accompanying songs beautifully and provided one of our personal stand out shows from the many seen during the Brighton Fringe Festival.

After the show we were able to meet the absolutely lovely cast, their adorable pigs and the wolf, a truly unique and memorable experience for my little boy.

We look forward to seeing what ‘Al Start’ brings to the Brighton Fringe Festival next year.

Image by Ellie Talebian