INTRO This afternoon, four of us went to the Cardiff International Arena to see the Tweenies live. My fiancé and I took my two youngest daughters who will be six and nine years old next month. The tickets cost £12.50 each and we booked over the Internet, using Ticketmaster. This will be quite a detailed review, so feel free to skip anything you find boring. I think it is often useful to read informative reviews so you can decide whether this show will be good for your child. TOUR The Tweenies Fab-a-rooney tour moves from Cardiff to Nottingham, London and Sheffield, concluding in April. If you’ve missed out this time, look out for the next one and book early, as they do sell out. We ended up with very high seats at the side, although we had no problems seeing the stage. The premise of the show is that the Tweenies are deciding what they each think is ‘fab-a-rooney’ and the show is split up into segments, creating the themes of each favourite thing. As you would expect, there is a lot of singing, dancing and audience participation involved in this. The show began at 5:30pm and ended at 7:10pm, with a twenty minute interval in the middle. This seemed ideal for the little ones really, without too much time spent wasted at the toilets. STAGE The stage was well constructed, based on an overhead view of the Tweenie clock with the five circles. There were lots of stairs with various things popping out as the show progressed. There were also several holes where the characters popped up or disappeared through. Behind the stage were three big screens – the two at the sides showed what was happening on the stage then, with the middle one being used to show related ‘screensavers’ or video footage of the dance movements and so on. It was very cleverly done and integrated well. <br>SHOW The show began with the Tweenie theme music and the fam iliar credits on the video screen. Then Milo, Jake, Fizz and Bella appeared on stage to fireworks. One of my daughters is scared of fireworks, but the ones used throughout the show were small, pretty and refreshingly quiet, so even little kids should be fine with them. They began by singing a few action songs such as ‘One Finger, One Thumb’ and ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’. Then Max appeared on stage, looking for the Tweenies, who are hiding. When he finds them, they ask him what he thinks is fab-a-rooney and he replies that buses are. The Tweenies leave the stage, appearing in the video footage behind and everyone sings ‘Wheels On The Bus’. The next section is Milo’s idea of ‘fab-a-rooney’ being aliens and spaceships. The audience help him top make stars by wiggling their fingers, which creates a beautiful starry background. Then the kids have to spin round to get a spaceship to land. This is very effective as it comes down onto the stage with fireworks and lights. Then the audience have to shout ‘hello’ and four inflatable purple and green aliens appear either side of the stage. This is the cue for the song ‘Five Little Men In A Flying Saucer’ as they disappear one by one, until the spaceship has flown away too and Milo himself disappears downwards. Doodles appears next and he received one of the biggest cheers of the night. Sporting a blue top hat and sparkly pawprint coat, he performed a song and dance routine with Fizz and Bella. We noted the dogs weren’t on stage for too long each time, which we thought might be to do with the inevitable backache the person inside must suffer! After that, Judy comes onto the stage with the Tweenies. They decide that jungle animals are fab-a-rooney. The Tweenie clock comes into play here and it is Messy Time. The kids are given a double-sided ‘mat’ when they come in, which is the Tw eenie clock on one side and a leaf on the other, so they have to show the leaves to create a jungle scene. The adults are asked to make the sound of jungle drums and huge inflatable trees appear at the sides of the stage and in the middle. Animals come out from behind the trees – a tiger, a crocodile, a monkey and an elephant – then they sing and dance, including ‘Down In The Jungle Where Nobody Goes…’ Then there was a twenty minute interval, followed by the Tweenies reappearing on stage to another sprinkle of fireworks. This time the four were wearing cool shades and sang ‘I Am The Music Man’ playing the piano, guitar, saxophone and drums on stage. Max came back after this and asked Bella to choose something fab-a-rooney. She picked pirates, so the Tweenies go off stage to choose outfits from the dressing up box, while Max sings a song and the other dog, Izzles, comes out to great applause. Meanwhile, stagehands dressed in pirate costumes construct the set. We end up with a boat, a pirate flag, mast, wheel and rigging as well as dry ice for the effect of the sea. The Tweenies come back to sing and dance in their best pirate outfits. Look out for ‘A Sailor Went To Sea, Sea, Sea’ and ‘The Big Ship Sails On The Alley Alley O’ in this part. Izzles and Judy then come on to the stage to a background of thunder and lightning and sing the predictable ‘I Hear Thunder’. Then Fizz arrives, declaring that a rainbow is fab-a-rooney. After she sings and dances with an umbrella, the stage lit in rainbow patterns, she decides that as she loves to dance too, her ideal thing would be a rainbow disco. All four Tweenies dance in sparkly clothes to very catchy music, including ‘Rockin’ Robin’. Then Izzles and Doodles arrive (Look out for them giving each other high fives, very cute!) and they all dance together. After this, the re are more fireworks and dry ice to the sound of the familiar theme music, as the Tweenies walk off stage and the lights dim… MERCHANDISE Good quality and not too expensive. Prices include videos £10, CDs £10, scarves £7, T-shirts £12, baseball caps £12, bags £7, poster programmes £4 and Doodles balloons £4. The only problem was that they only sold the T-shirts in two sizes 3-4 years and 5-6 years, which is annoying if you have younger or older children there. OVERALL The show was very slick, professional and well rehearsed. The characters all looked, sounded and acted exactly as they do on TV. It was very convincingly done, with my youngest daughter getting completely wrapped up in it all. Even my elder daughter loved it, even though she must know that it is really <whispers> people in costumes. The dogs were especially convincing, with both of them behaving differently and having unique personalities and ways of moving. It must be very hard to be bent over double in there, walking on all fours as well as negotiating stairs and dance routines – but they managed it expertly and deserve to be praised. The effects are very good, especially the use of the video screen and the fireworks. The costumes are excellent too, especially the jungle animals. It is also very good how the kids all become involved so much. My favourite bit was the section with the jungle animals, followed by the rainbow disco. I drifted off a bit during the pirates section though, which seemed a bit long and boring. Otherwise, it held my attention too. There were all ages there from babies to the elderly. I would suggest it is ideal entertainment for any fans of the Tweenies on TV, especially those aged between three and seven years old. I think it was well worth the money and we would certainly go and see them again.