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LIPA grads taken aback by reaction to ‘Rockstar’ Bluey

Tuesday 09 April 2024

LIPA grads taken aback by reaction to ‘Rockstar’ Bluey

Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) graduates who perform in the stage version of the cartoon phenomenon Bluey say reaction to the Olivier nominated show has been “wild”. 

Bluey’s Big Play, which is based on the Disney+/BBC children’s TV show Bluey, features Adam Ryan (Acting, 2011) and Laura Hyde (Dance, 2005) as puppeteers. Adam, who performs as Bandit, says: “There is always a massive wall of sound when the characters each appear on stage for the first time, which totally took me aback when we first opened the show. These characters are rock stars to so many kids!” Laura, Bluey’s younger sister Bingo, describes the reaction as, “magical.” 

“As soon as the lights go out and the pre-show begins, there is an audible gasp, and then of course lots of cheers when the audience meet the puppets for the first time.” 

The BAFTA and Emmy award-winning TV show has a reputation for subtly dealing with adult themes in a way children and parents can understand. Laura says the play, like the TV show, is rooted in reality. “The characters are based on writer Joe Brumm’s family and the stories are based on events that really happened.” Adam agrees: “It’s relatable for all the family and teaches children vital lessons and manners without being patronising. The show has a big heart.” 

Bluey’s Big Play is Laura’s first major production using Bunraku puppetry, a traditional Japanese form of puppet theatre that uses near life-size dolls. Adam’s experience of working in theatre for younger audiences means he has been involved with puppets for eight years. Adam says: “I’ve become very passionate about puppetry. I love how creative you can be.  

“It’s fascinating that when puppetry is done right, the puppeteer becomes invisible, and the audience completely forgets that it is an inanimate object that is being manipulated.” 

Opening at London’s Southbank Centre in December 2023, Bluey’s Big Play is now touring the UK and Ireland until September. Laura says operating the puppets is physically demanding. “We have been given physio exercises to build up our strength and prevent injury, and we are fortunate to get a session with a physiotherapist every two weeks, which I think is needed in this type of show.” 

The production arrives at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena on 12 July for seven shows. Adam and Laura are looking forward to returning to the city. Adam says: “Each time I go back, I have a massive smile on my face and my heart feels full. I love seeing how the city has evolved.” Laura can’t wait to show the city off. “I absolutely loved living in Liverpool, and I do try to come visit when I can. I'm looking forward to sharing my favorite Liverpool places with the rest of the cast and crew.”   

You can find out more about the show on the Bluey’s Big Play website. The production has been nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Family Show. The winners are announced on the 14 April. 

Image: Cast of Bluey’s Big Play, Bingo and Laura first from the left and Bandit and Adam second from the left. Photography Mark Senior