Admit it: as a parent there are some children’s TV shows you just have to leave the room for after one episode, no matter how much you love your child.

Occasionally, though, show creators manage to pitch it just right, and not only will you accede to sitting down to watch with your offspring – but secretly you actually quite enjoy it yourself.

Hey Duggee has always widely been accepted as one of the latter – in no small part down to the silky baritone tones of actor and TV presenter Alexander Armstrong as the narrator, along with his expressive range of ‘Awoofs’ as the top dog himself.

Thankfully Benedict Hastings, who has taken on these roles for the award-winning live stage show version of the popular CBeebies programme, does an uncanny impression of Armstrong that will more than satisfy younger audience members and won’t grate on their parents’ ears.

I was in the audience for the Friday afternoon performance of Hey Duggee – The Live Theatre Show (winner of Best Family Show at the 2023 OIivier Awards) at the Hall for Cornwall and thought I’d better take along my daughter too.

For the uninitiated, Duggee is a brown, floppy-eared dog scout leader who helps his young charges, known as the Squirrel Club, to earn a different badge by learning new skills in each episode.

The concept of the stage version is that the Squirrels are to put on a show to earn their Theatre Badge – but go through a series of tasks to get there, winning more badges in the process.

The audience get to join in the fun too, and earn the same badges along the way, thanks to a nifty sticker sheet – make sure to pick one up on the way in.

All the favourites are there, with each of the Squirrels appearing in puppet form with a human actor to make them come alive.

Falmouth Packet: The cast of the award-winning Hey Duggee live showThe cast of the award-winning Hey Duggee live show (Image: Press handout)

A special mention must go to Lunga Anele-Skosana, who had no less than five different characters to play by taking on all the supporting cast that the Squirrels meet over the course of a TV series – from Mrs Wheaver the Beaver and Hennie the ostrich to Chew Chew the panda, Chippo the cheetah and Boris the penguin.

It made for some speedy changes at one point at the end, which even impressed my daughter who whispered “That was quick!”

Now eight years old, I wasn’t sure how she would respond to something arguably aimed at a slightly younger audience, but as a firm fan back in the day I hoped the nostalgia would see her through.

I needn’t have worried. She spent the show giving me delighted glances, and was particularly spellbound by the section where we all earned our Space Badge while under a starlit auditorium (or some fancy lighting giving that impression at least).

There was particular excitement when the cast sent two of the ‘planets’ used in the astronomy lesson (two balloon-style balls) out into the audience to bat around – although I’m not sure how much of the remainder of the lesson was then heard by anyone!

Of course fans of the show will know there was one big thing we were all anticipating – and they made us wait 52 minutes of the 55-minute runtime to get there, despite a few teasers along the way. Finally, however, the music cranked up and the sound of “Stick, stick, stick, stick, sticky sticky stick stick” filled the Cornwall Playhouse. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, search The Stick Song on YouTube – it’s basically rave music for kids.)

The show also introduced a new earworm to me with the Step By Step Song and its catchy ‘One foot in front of the other’ chorus that I’d clearly missed from The Walking Badge episode; thanks for that.

There is a good mix of songs, audience interaction and storytelling throughout the production, which at just under an hour long is probably the right length for some of the youngest members of the audience before they begin to get a bit fidgety.

At times a bit chaotic but undeniably fun throughout, it’s a great way to introduce children to live theatre – and with the wet forecast ahead for this weekend, why not catch one of the three remaining performances, at 2pm today (Saturday) and again at 10.30am and 2pm tomorrow (Sunday).

Unusually (or perhaps more often than I’d care to admit) I shall give the final word to my daughter however, with her own review:

“The Hey Duggee show was very interesting. I liked the space part myself, because when they throw the ball you’re able to put it around.

“There are very interesting songs at the end. The whole show is interesting, and funny.

“If you like songs it will be good for you, and especially if you like Hey Duggee and musicals this will be the show for you.”