Took DD (6) and DS (4) to see this at the Arts Depot in North Finchley ahead of a West End run.
The show is based on a 1938 children's book of the same name (I understand this is a classic -but my DCs and I were not familiar with it).
Mr Popper is a painter-decorator who lives with Mrs Popper in a tidy house in the small town of Stillwater. He loves reading about explorers and dreams of travelling to the Antarctic.
One day, a surprising package comes in the mail: a real-life penguin from the South Pole who has come to live with the Poppers. Their life in Stillwater becomes rather more interesting from that point on, as Captain Cook the penguin is joined first by a mate, and then by a veritable colony of adorable fluffy offspring.
I was slightly apprehensive going to this show because my DD is very, very easily scared in the cinema or theatre, but I can safely say there is nothing scary or sad here (at one point Captain Cook does become unwell, but he quickly recovers, and my DD did not seem alarmed in the slightest).
The songs are sweet and sometimes funny but for me, there were no stand-out hits and I can't say I left the theatre remembering any of the tunes.
However, there was one that might resonate with parents in particular, as the Poppers sing of their lives pre-children:
"Before they came along - I had my dreams, I had my books; I had my sleep, I had my looks"
...compared with post-DCs:
"A stuffy wife, a scruffy man; we had a life but it began, the day they came along."
The penguin puppets are operated by actors on stage, which I thought might put off the DCs but they didn't even seem to notice. The costumes, acting and singing were all excellent, and it felt like a high-quality production. There were also a couple of fun festive touches at the end, which added to the feeling of it being a "special" and Christmassy kind of show.
When we got home, my DCs got out their penguin Playmobil set and they have been staging their own productions of Mr Popper's Penguins non-stop since, which I take as confirmation that they enjoyed it and will remember it!
Mumsnet was invited to see Mr Popper's Penguins.
For more information visit http://www.mrpopperspenguinslive.com/.