Opera, shiny pots and ping pong balls…

A few months ago, a lovely mum friend sent me a text with a couple of things she’d booked to go to at Stratford Circus with her toddler. Being a bit of a sheep, I got some tickets for me and mine, without really reading what either event was all about – until the night before…

On Saturday morning, when we made our way to the venue, I couldn’t help feeling a bit worried. I wasn’t at all sure of what my toddler was going to make of Spitalfields music’s Musical Rumpus on Tour: Run, Rindle Rill.

It’s described as an interactive opera especially for babies and toddlers aged 0-2 and a half, so we’re right at the upper age limit. And like most 2 and a half year olds, mine doesn’t favour sitting still or being quiet when required.

In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t wasted valuable mum energy on worrying, because all the babies and toddlers, including mine, had a fantastic time. And there’s something especially nice about seeing your little one enjoying something genuinely different – which now leaves me with the challenge of describing the Musical Rumpus.

It’s not easy…

… It involves four performers – one playing the bassoon (I think) and another playing a cello, and four (to my ear) beautifully trained operatic voices. My little one sat still as still could be as they started to sing and engage with their highly demanding audience. She seemed captivated by what she was seeing and hearing.

In the course of the baby opera, they brought out big shiny pots, ping pong balls and see-through tubes to run them through.

The audience started the performance sitting around the outside in a big circle, but the smaller members soon began walking or crawling about – joining in the fun. There were ping pong balls, to chase after all.

As for the music, I recognised some Vivaldi (my dad was a fan). After that my knowledge runs out – it sounded lovely though.

I told you it was hard to describe! But it totally worked. For 45 minutes or so, the babies and toddlers were all delighted, and the time whizzed by.

And the good news is, the Musical Rumpus is currently on tour in Tower Hamlets, giving you and your toddler the chance to try it yourself.

The details of the tour are here. Most of the dates are in the next couple of weeks, but look out for performances 9-11 June at Rich Mix, as part of the Spitalfields music summer festival.

I’m tempted to go again myself. Oh and take my toddler too, since at the end she said, ‘But I want that again!’


Author: Aline Reed

I am a freelance copywriter.

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