David Walliams' The First Hippo on the Moon

Oliver Lansley’s adaptation is silly and splendid to behold, a wonder of puppetry and poo for kids- although parents may tire of just how much toilet humour crops up in the script.

★★★
kids review | Read in About 2 minutes
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First Hippo on the Moon
Published 15 Aug 2017

Oliver Lansley’s adaptation is silly and splendid to behold, a wonder of puppetry and poo for kids – although parents may tire of just how much toilet humour crops up in the script.

Sheila dreams of landing on the moon before her pompous fellow classmate Hercules Waldorf-Franklin III, prompting a space race with plenty of jungle boogie interludes. The set is extremely impressive – easily detaching to create several layers of the jungle, the rolling trees and knolls make a surprisingly immersive environment. The puppets too are amazing. The care and attention put into even the joints on a cardboard elephant is indicative of the high production value one can expect from Les Petits.

Equally charming is the range of songs. Catchy and peppy, there feature enjoyably meta lyrics for parents, and memorable hooks for youngsters. Of course it’s not a kids’ show without a gravitation around the scatalogical. An extended poo-gathering sequence has a sound premise but runs on to the point of losing the audience’s engagement. The visuals can’t be faulted, however, and the ascent into space paired with a terrific soundtrack results in breathtaking narrative and visual beats.

Protagonist Sheila is an obstinate force to be reckoned with, although Lansley’s script allows minimal time for her selfish actions to result in real consequences. This element feels rushed on re-entry after a beautiful lunar sequence and bookended with a big musical number – to be fair, it was very catchy.