Monday, August 23, 2010

JAMIE’S SHOW REVIEW: Wiggly Circus Live!

After spending a semester of my junior year in college abroad in Sydney, Australia, I developed a lifelong fondness for Aussie men. And it appears that my daughter—as well as millions of other kids her age—shares a similar love for the “Fab Four from Down Under.” On Wednesday, August 18th, Jayda and I spent an enjoyable afternoon watching the Wiggles—the world’s #1 preschool entertainers—perform live at Nassau Coliseum in their “Wiggly Circus Live!” tour.

Set amidst a big-top background, with plenty of props for acrobatics, along with some musical instruments on the side, the stage was set to bring all the excitement of the big top—with a wiggly twist—to hundreds of adoring fans. But the show opened with the surprising news that Murray (the red Wiggle) would not be performing because he had unexpectedly returned to Australia due to “family commitments." We were then introduced to a substitute Wiggle—Ringo—who, fortunately, did a good job of fitting in with the regular Wiggles: Sam, Jeff, and Anthony.

Throughout the show, the Wiggles were joined by all their friends—Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, Henry the Octopus, and Captain Feathersword, as well as Fifi, a circus ringmaster, and a few energetic Wiggly Dancers who helped perform a variety of acrobatics. Many songs had a circus component—especially “Hot Poppin’ Popcorn” which featured three life-sized boxes of popcorn performing impressive somersaults in the air. And in the usual Wiggles-fashion, jokes abounded, including one “he wants to be a colonel” reference to the popcorn, which amused several of the adults in the audience.

Song performances included many favorites such as “Big Red Car” (featuring an appearance by that very same car on the stage), “Getting Strong,” “Quack Quack Cock-A-Doodle Do,” and “Fruit Salad,” as well as a few strange, new selections like “Yellow Bird” and a Japanese song featuring kimono-clad women. Jayda (and most of the audience) seemed to prefer the old classics—and clapped along and cheered to the familiar tunes—while quieting down for the new ones.

As is typical for the Wiggles, at one point, Jeff fell asleep and the entire Coliseum shouted “Wake up, Jeff!” We later learned that this Wiggle is 57 years old—so, I for one, couldn't blame him for being tired!

As most Wiggles fans know, Dorothy the Dinosaur loves roses more than anything, and many audience members were bearing roses—as well as other gifts—for the Wiggles; Sam, Jeff, and Anthony acknowledged this by sauntering out into the audience (even up to the second level) to personally collect handfuls of roses and other items, and to thank their fans. They ventured out to the audience again, later in the show, to get closer to all the hand-made signs fans were holding up—and even read dozens of the messages into their microphones, expressing gratitude along the way. The Wiggles showed a genuine appreciation for their fans, and this really impressed me.

One of Jayda’s favorite parts of the show was at the end when the Wiggles sang “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” after turning down the lights and encouraging the audience members to hold up their cell phones and other lights to make the Coliseum twinkle. And a rousing “Hot Potato” finale got everyone—including my now-tired daughter—to their feet. The 90-minute show was, at times, disjointed, and a little bit too long for Jayda who was "wiggling" in my arms towards the end. But, for the most part, it was an entertaining afternoon; the Wiggles have performed over 350 shows to more than 1.5 million fans since 2005 in the United States alone, and Jayda and I are happy to have been a part of those growing numbers.


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