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  • Writer's pictureReview Culture

Milkshake! On Holiday. The Embassy Theatre, Skegness. 11 April 2024.

Milkshake! is a television programming block on Channel 5 in the UK that is aimed at children from the age of 2 - 7 that has been running in one form or another since the 1990s. It has provided and early career boost for some, like Konnie Huq before her Blue Peter days. It is a recognisable brand and is currently running a touring show aimed predominantly at the lower age range of its intended demographic. Milkshake! On Holiday 2024 is a hi-octane, hi-energy variety show with bright colourful characters and child-friendly presenters who sing and dance their way through an hour-long show virtually non-stop.

This year's touring production made a stop in Skegness for a performance this week and the small, but mightily energetic, company brought many of the channels favourite kids' TV icons to the stage in terms of character costumes. We met Milkshake! Monkey, Pip and Posey, Milo, Blue from Blues Clues and Dora the Explorer. Tying the show together were two immensely affable presenters from the strand, Olivia Birchenough and Kemi Majeks.

The premise was simple, the two presenters were going on holiday to the Milkshake! Theme Park and when they arrived they were greeted by Monkey who set them a challenge to obtain four merit stamps on a camp passport. If they each won four stamps, the whole audience would get a party. You really don't need a hugely complex story for this age group, what you do need is a clear narrative and likeable characters, with extremely limited jeopardy and Milkshake! On Holiday provided exactly that.

The show opened with a bang as the team of dancers took the stage singing and dancing and the pace rarely let up after that. The costumes were bright and colourful and the set was equally bright and colourful, yet simple in its design so as not to impair the flow of the story. Almost all the songs and dances had elements of audience participation in them and it was a pleasure to see so many very young children boogieing away throughout. They will undoubtedly have slept well after the energy they all expended.

The sheer pleasure and enjoyment was etched into the face of every child present and the show proved a huge success for those parents keen to do something memorable with their little ones during the Easter holidays. For me, I was a little confused by who was who in the show and must confess, I had to look up some of the details for the purpose of this review but I am so far from the target demographic for the show that it is hardly surprising. The show was also one of those rare shows reviewed where I did not take any photos for the review and have had to rely on archive photos found on the internet which were not taken during this production but give an idea of how the show played out on stage.

Was it a show I would recommend? Absolutely. If you have bored pre-schoolers or early years children who love music, dancing and silly comedy, you should get along to see Milkshake! live and in person when the show comes to a venue near you. It is so important to expose young children to live theatre to help them to develop a lifelong love of arts and culture.

Andy Evans 12 April 2024

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