“ Manufacturer: Chad Valley / Type: Theatre play set „
We went up to a car boot on a cold windy day which is on top of a hill. While not a great idea it turned out to be a great time for bargain hunting. We came across a stall selling every item for 50p so when my son spotted the Showtime Theatre I was more than happy to pay 50p. I hadn't seen this Theatre for sale elsewhere but it is now in the new Argos book at a price of £19.99 and is made by Chad Valley. The Theatre that we own is different to the one pictured in the Argos book however they are very brightly coloured in blocks of colour which don't tend to lean towards one gender or another. The theatre is 33.5cm high, 8cm wide, and Diameter is 28.6cm. It takes 3AA batteries which are not included. It comes with a handle which actually is more like a rod that incorporates into the design which makes it easy to transport around. To set up the show you open the rear doors. Then lift the flap at the top which is held in place with a magnet. I find that ours keeps falling down so we have cello taped it open. Inside the door are two netted pockets which contain the finger puppets. It has the three little pigs and the big bad wolf. The pigs are all wearing different clothing which makes it easier for children to identify the different pigs. The Theatre has velvet fabric curtains that open with a pull down switch. This is a little stiff and doesn't run smoothly but does the job. The most ingenious part of this show is a pull down keyboard which has a whole variety of light sequences, Sounds such as thunder storms and clapping and background noises. My son was very excited to set up his own show. The three little pigs was one of his favorite stories at the time of purchase so an added bonus for us. Initially he really had no idea which button to press but through experimentation has discovered his favorite sounds and light effect. Apart from lights around the outside it also has a spotlight feature which is really effective. To start the show, press the open button which starts a Fanfare for the beginning of the show. I also frequently have to present regular shows which while the three little pigs are relatively simple. My son has however now adapted the story of the three little pigs so the Wolf becomes good as he doesn't like naughty people. The music does created atmosphere. While thunder storms regularly feature in our stories as my son likes the thunder sound. I have however bought some finger puppets from Ikea which stretches the imagination a little. At the end of the show you press the close button which has a clapping sound encouraging the audience to join in. The sounds do have a volume level which is a complete bonus on any children's toy. This is one toy that when my son's friends come to play will also enjoy putting on a performance. This has been a favourite toy that has come out again and again. We have owned this toy for over a year and while the novelty has worn off a little once it is out it can provide hours of entertainment. We did take it on holiday this year as a fun activity to play within the caravan and as it folds up so small didn't take up much space to transport in the car. This is a great all round toy. Not only can it be quite entertaining but it also is good for developing fine motor skills, it develops a Childs imagination and develops confidence in telling a story. It is also useful in language development memory skills and as an added bonus is fun. This is one toy I would highly recommend. This has been played with on a regular basis by both boys and girls aged between 3 and 5 years of age and a hit with all of them. I would also recommend buying additional finger puppets to add to variety and entertainment value.