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The First Hippo on the Moon at Brighton Theatre Royal

Last week, we were invited to see the stage adaptation of David Walliams’ book ‘The First Hippo on the Moon’. I had never taken Emma to the cinema or theatre before as she had been scared of the dark for a while, but decided it would be lovely to go together. It was also my first time at Brighton’s Theatre Royal, which is a beautiful theatre in the North Laines. As we walked in, Emma was mesmerised by the chandeliers and lights!

First Hippo on Moon

If you’re familiar with the book, it is about two hippos who have a dream to be the first hippo on the moon, and their journey to get there. It’s such a fun book with brilliant illustrations – Emma loves counting down “3,2,1 blast off!” and also spotting her favourite animals (the giraffe and ‘mingo’ for flamingo). The age range for the book is 3 years plus, so she is a little young but at 32 pages long, it doesn’t us long to read through.

As we collected our tickets, the lady at the box office re-assured me that it was only an hour long. I was a little nervous arriving as I’d never managed to ‘contain’ Emma in a seat before. If we go to a cafe, it’s usually as short-lived as it is with any toddler. So the theatre seemed a little nerve-wracking! However Emma was happy to sit on my lap and watch the show, while having a few snacks. My mind was put at ease that there were so many other young families too, so when she did cry, I didn’t feel too bad about it.

The show was performed by Les Petits Theatre Company and they mainly used puppets for the animals throughout the show. It was only Sheila the hippo and the gorilla that were in a full costume. I found it to be a very clever use of the stage and the storyline was funny. Most importantly, Emma was gripped throughout and the mention of poo or dung kept her very entertained!

First Hippo on Moon

I had wondered beforehand how they would adapt the book to fit an hour’s performance but there were songs in between, which we enjoyed bopping along to. I also liked their use of showing a puppet television screen too – very clever and I hadn’t seen this done before. For these bits, the lighting was quite dark but Emma seemed absolutely fine, so perhaps she’s not as afraid of the dark as she once was.

We had such a lovely time seeing The First Hippo on the Moon and I can’t wait to take Emma to another theatre experience soon. Since our visit, Emma has been requesting that we read the book and talks about the two hippos she ‘met’ often. So I think it’s a big thumbs up from her too.


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