Family theatre is a daunting experience, so for my toddler’s first ever theatre experience we thought we’d start with something short, fun and local. A quick look down the listings for our local theatre, The Woodville in Gravesend, we discovered that Long Nose Puppets had a showing for their rendition of ‘The Hug’.
Long Nose Puppets was co-founded by Katherine Morton and Polly Dunbar in 2006 and originated in Brighton, where they studied illustration at Brighton University.
Polly Dunbar illustrated the book The Hug, as well as many other popular children’s books, which is why the final puppets are such a true likeness to the books.
The original music for the Long Nose Puppets productions is composed by Tom Gray.
The mastermind puppeteer behind Long Nose Puppets is Ant Morton, who along with the other puppeteers, takes the productions on tour.
The rest of the Long Nose Puppets team includes Richard Osbourne, Sophie Ellen Powell, Annie Brooks and Emily Clack.
The Hug is a calm children’s tale of hope, empathy and acceptance in which a hedgehog and tortoise, who both, unbeknownst to eachother, are in search of a hug. They scale the land, but none of the creatures are able to help them on their quest for a hug…until they find eachother. It’s a heartwarming tale loved by children and adults alike.
The Hug is based on the book by Eoin McLaughlin & Polly Dunbar.
The recommended age for The Hug by The Long Nose Puppets is 2-8, although the heartwarming production can most certainly be enjoyed by all ages.
The run time is 45 minutes, so please bare this in mind when booking tickets.
The Long Nose Puppets are touring the U.K. with The Hug until February 2022. They’re visiting London, Salisbury, Brighton, Leicester and many more towns, so be sure to check out their full tour dates on their website to see when they’re visiting a town near you!
Upon arriving at The Woodville in Gravesend, we were ushered to our seats and we took time getting comfy and settled with both our toddler and newborn. It was our first time in a theatre since COVID, and it was great to see measures like social distancing and one way systems in place.
The production quickly began and we were encapsulated into the feel good tale. It was almost hypnotic – Arthur was engrossed, breaking from his trance only to call out to the creatures in excitement. It was lovely to see all the children so excited by the puppets.
The production as a whole has a whimsical feel, which is magical for the children yet nostalgic for the adults. With just the right amount of humour and silliness, it was a heart warming story that was enjoyable for all.
Being Arthur’s first trip to the theatre, I was slightly worried that he wouldn’t be able to sit still throughout the 45 minute run time, but in the end he did rather well. After about 30 minutes, we noticed all the children in the theatre getting a little bit antsy – it was around this time that Arthur wanted to visit the toilet. Upon re-entrance, he decided to stand to watch the rest of the performance, which he did rather happily (with the bribery of some snacks of course!).
For our first ever family theatre experience I just cannot emphasise how brilliant the Long Nose Puppets show was and I would highly recommend The Hug to all families. Thank you, Long Nose Puppets, for creating such a beautiful piece of family friendly art for my toddler to enjoy after the never ending quiet of what we have all been through during the last year of lockdowns. I truly cannot wait to see what Long Nose Puppets come up with next – whatever it is, I’m sure I’ll be buying a ticket.
PS – If you book tickets to The Hug off the back of my recommendation, please tag me in your photos on Instagram and use the hashtag #JodetopiaInKent and let me know!