To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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For a while the working title for this post was "Lola and the Car Salesman" and there was a serious risk it would develope into a tale of how we went in search of Lola but found instead a Car Salesman. Fortunately it got no futher than the title before being rejected like an X facor contestant . We simply failed to visit the Hong Kong Bugatti dealership so what was there to write about!!. As it happens we were going to the HK Academy of Performing Arts opposite the car dealers on Gloucester Road and I was expecting to do a piece contrasting the "Lola Experience" with last years panto. Since we were early we went window shopping to kill time before checking out the loos.

Thing which struck me was that last years audience was profoundly "British" even though there were plenty of Americans in attendance. (and no the fleet wasn't in town!!) There were noticably few chinese except the odd spouse. By contrast this year for Charlie and Lola's "best bestest play"there were few "Brits for Lola" but LOTS of west coast Chinese American mothers (either alone or with Chinese partners)+ remarkably well behaved kids . Clearly Lola was appealing to a different social demographic.

Charlie and Lola are characters created by Lauren Child and were played by 2 cardboard cut out puppets worked by 4 puppeteers. I didn't realise since we we don't watch TV and we READ the books to our son regularly with much "abandon" that these stories have been turned into TV cartoon characters by the BBC. I am sure it's a bazzer little series and it'sdefinatly a merchandizing opportunity - certainly seemed that way before the show ......

Now it did cross my mind that other parents were either being terribly responsible and having introduced their children to the books /TV series they were now broadening their horizons by introducing them to the concept of live theatre ie taking them to see it performed "live" if a puppet show can be so described (Nothing wrong with that) OR having parked their kids in front of TV forthe year they feel guilty and are taking the opportunity to wean them off by introducing them to the live action. Our motives on the other hand were more to do with last years panto which had exposed cultural differences and baggage in our marriage as exemplified by our different reaction to "Lola"...

My wife (who is chinese) thought it was wonderful... frankly I thought it was was boring. There was no audience participation " OH NO THERE WASN"T" . There were no stirring songs ... sure there was music ....but is was so ...."blah". There were no stunning Principle Boys although some of the ChiAm Moms were unquestionably HOT and there was no questionable adult humour - (this a personal opinion and I suspect it's because I don't come from the target demographic). Most importantly however the main man, who last year walked out before the panto had finished (in truth it wasn't very good) stayed the course this time and expressed his satisfaction at the endof the performance - the little critic!!.

I did point out when we left that there were lot of alternatives this Christmass (such as Scrooge the Musical - always good for a laugh) ;Le Petit Prince (the Musical) in cantonese, Wind in Willows (a personal favorite), The Little Mermaid (Chinese puppets ) and "We are Going on a Bear Hunt" I may have inadvertantly got myself committed to that one in January!!! ... but no one cared. The day wasn't a disaster though. We went round the corner to Assaggio's in the Art Center for an excellent lunch buffet. Depending how you look at it it was either an early christmass treat for me or a delayed Birthday lunch..... and the little critic pigged on pizza and chocolate ice cream !!!

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