February 11, 2010

Activities For Kids in London

London city provides ample opportunities and choices to spend a wonderful time with your kids and family. The London kids and family events lined up through out the year are just pleasurable, pulling you out from the routine of life and bringing you close to your family. You’ll find our NECK & NECK hints and tips on what to do in London here:


James and the Giant Peach (until Sat. Feb 13)

Here’s a juicy festive treat from the Polka – a reprise of the hit show that last packed the little theatre to the rafters five years ago. It’s time the latest wave of Roald Dahl fans saw this peach of a show, and it’s been buffed up nicely for the occasion. This adaptation is by David Wood, a playwright whose lifelong dedication to children’s theatre is now bearing fruit in the form of a new generation of young playwrights and directors inspired by his work. Wood’s talent as a theatrical magician marries well with Dahl’s subversive, eccentric characterisation, resulting in a busy, technicolour show that’s wholly involving for children – characters, celebrations, songs, even the great inflatable peach itself all extend into the audience to create spikes of high excitement. And talking of spikes, the dispatch of wicked aunts Sponge and Spiker is a joy to behold. The six-strong cast constitute a witty and wise bunch on their incredible transatlantic adventure. James Daly, diminutive in his schoolboy shorts, blossoms sweetly from quietly sobbing orphan to cartwheeling captain of the creepy crawly crew, and Dennis Yankson’s gloomy worm’s eye view of proceedings is hilarious. With Dahl’s occasional leaps into rhyme set to music by Olly Fox, this production for children aged six to 11 has a joyful, exuberance far more suited to the party season than some overwrought celebrity-sprinkled panto

Polka Theatre details

Polka Theatre, 240 The Broadway, London, SW19 1SB
Transport: South Wimbledon
Telephone: 020 8543 4888

Dr Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat (Until Sat Mar 13 )

This 45-minute production, which transfers from the National Theatre, is an adaptation of Dr Seuss’s much-loved book about a mischievous cat whose instantly recognisable style involves a tall red-and-white-striped hat and a natty bow tie. It is directed by Katie Mitchell. Age 3-6.

Young Vic details

Young Vic,66 The Cut, SE1 8LZ
Transport Southwark/Waterloo
Telephone: 020 7922 2922
Mon-Sat 10.30am & 1.30pm
£10 (£12 if not accompanied by a child), under-18s £8

Half-Term Whale Week (Feb 13-21)

The Aquarium celebrates all things ‘whale’ with displays, interactive games, activities, competitions, films, shark and ray feeds.

London Aquarium details

London Aquarium, County Hall, Riverside Building, Westminster Bridge Rd, London, SE1 7PB.
Transport: Westminster
Telephone: 0871 663 1678, bookings 08445 791940 10am-6pm (last adm 5pm) Mon-Thur, 10am-7pm (last adm 6pm) Fri-Sun

Imagine (Until Mon Mar. 1)

The Southbank Centre’s excellent annual literature festival for children returns for its 2010 outing. Mostly aimed at children of five to 11, the programme also includes activities for families with younger children. Alongside the paid-for performances there’s plenty of free entertainment. This year’s delights include writers Michael Rosen, Francesca Beard and John Hegley sharing their passion for books (Feb 11); James Campbell premiering new stand-up comedy for kids (Feb 13, 15); sparky poetry collective Aisle 16 performing their first show for children (Feb 15); a beatbox concerto presented by beatboxer Shlomo and composer Anna Meredith (Feb 20); Southbank Centre’s production of ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ with a new score by Bellowhead (Feb 27, 28 & Mar 1); and the return of ‘The Bibliomancer’s Dream’ installation (Feb 6-Mar 2), in the Royal Festival Hall’s Clore Ballroom, which is the main venue for free events during the festival.

Southbank Centre details

Southbank Centre,
Belvedere Rd, London, SE1 8XX, Transport Waterloo
Telephone: 0871 663 2500 Times & prices vary

Disney by Hand (Until Sat. Feb 27)

The Barbican is launching a festival to celebrate classic Disney animations, to tie in with the release of ‘The Princess and the Frog’, the studio’s return to hand-drawn animated films. Over the course of the season, cinema-goers young and old will have the pleasure of watching the movies that made us fall for the medium, including Disney’s very first animated feature, ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ (1937), phantasmagorical ‘Fantasia’ (1940), psychedelic ‘Dumbo’ (1941), heartbreaking ‘Bambi’ (1942) and underwater caper ‘The Little Mermaid’ (1989). There are costume-making and animation workshops to accompany some screenings, and children go free to any festival film when you book a ticket for ‘The Princess and the Frog’ Barbican

Centre details

Address: Silk St, London, EC2Y 8DS
Telephone: 0845 120 7500 screenings Sat 6; Sat 13-Sun 21; Sat 27 (see website for times) Standard tkts £9.50 (£7.50 online), concs £7.50, under-15s £4.50; Family Film Club screenings £5, mems £3 (FFC membership is free)



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