The Muppets Take The O2, London, UK – 13th July 2018

Posted by Bianca on Friday Jul 13, 2018 Under Musical Theatre, Pop, Rock

Review by Michael Sibbons with photos courtesy of Luke Dyson

It’s time to play the music,
It’s time to light the lights,
It’s time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight!!!!

Friday 13th (unlucky for some) I headed down to the o2 arena to spend a night with quite possibly the biggest names in show business; Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and a plethora of other colourful characters.

‘The Muppets take the O2’, were three performances by The Muppets, their first time performing on stage in Europe (that said the original Muppet show was filmed in the UK back in the 70s!), hosting a collection of VERY special guests, new materials, musical numbers as well as the classic favourites we all craved.

The O2 - The Muppets - 13th July 2018 by Luke Dyson - IMG_0096

I’m 28 and a fan of The Muppets. I’m not ashamed of this. As a kid I adored Muppets Treasure Island; their take on the Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic starring Tim Curry as Long John Silver along with Jennifer Saunders and Billy Connolly (who takes pleasure in being the first person to be killed on the Muppets). This was kind of a bit of a childhood dream come true, even when you can see the puppeteers, these aren’t colourful felt creations. They’re not fictional characters. They’re not puppets. They’re Muppets.

Opening the show was Sam Eagle, explaining the UK and the US have a very special relationship… The American revolution. Where we lost The Grand Canyon, The Mighty Mississippi, Strip Malls and in return they gave us The Muppets.

Naturally from there straight into the Muppet show theme song, complete with columns and arches, and the very special guest was announced. Bobby Moynihan. Who? I probably hear you ask, I wondered the same thing. He’s an American comedian most famous for Saturday Night Live. This was my only criticism of the show. Now I watch bits of SNL occasionally and I’ll be honest I didn’t recognise him. On researching whilst writing this review he was also the ‘Very Special Guest’ for their previous show at the Hollywood Bowl. I’m not saying he was bad or un-entertaining, I just think it translated very badly to a British audience (that said I definitely wouldn’t be complaining if the special guest was previous SNL showrunner Tina Fey, who had a major role in The Muppets Most Wanted as I’m a big 30rock fan).

A couple of skits and songs later; including seeing Miss Piggy being carried in onto the stage on a Chaise Lounges carried by two half naked men. (She’s the biggest diva ever, would you expect anything less?) and of course some heckling by Statler and Waldorf we came to Pigs in Space.

Travelling through space, they can’t find any intelligent life but receive a transmission (of British slang) but need an interpreter. A familiar sound rings out around the arena and who happens to step onto the stage The Doctor. With no less than David Tennant reprising the role. He just so happens to find a ‘plot device’ in their spaceship allowing them to continue their mission. This causes Captain Link Hogthrob to regenerate, going through several different Muppets dressed up as the various Doctors before ending up as another Miss Piggy.

The O2 - The Muppets - 13th July 2018 by Luke Dyson - IMG_0407-Edit

Another few skits, including a song by Hair (being cut short), Gonzo checking the audience if there’s any allergies to hot lava, Kermit and Bobby singing Happy feet, another guest is brought out. The actor Charles Dance who wishes to read William Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’, in his booming thespian voice. Unfortunately, he was interrupted by a call from his ‘champagne guy’ which he naturally had to go take. This was a ruse by Pepé The King Prawn who was finding it boring and wanting to dance… Appearing with a bunch of dancers, and changing the lights and to graphics something more Ibiza esque and having a rave on stage. On Charles Dance’s return, and failing to continue reading his poem, he ended up raving with the others before heading off stage. I think it has to be seen rather than explained.

The first act was closed by a medley performed by Dr Teeth and The Electric Mayhem, covering Bowie’s Suffragette City finishing on a legendary drum solo by Animal.

The second act was opened with a live cover of Bohemian Rhapsody, featuring various muppets including Gonzo, Animal and Piggy of course reminding us that nothing really matters… but ‘moi’.

The next guest was a bit awkward for me… they came to help the Swedish Chef make Haggis. I didn’t recognise them and thought maybe it was someone from CBeebies? Nope. Kevin Bishop. The star of my favourite childhood film Muppets Treasure Island. Which ‘coincidentally’ I watched the previous evening. For those who don’t know how to make haggis (including the Swedish Chef) Haggis involves stuffing a sheeps stomach… but the chef didn’t realise you have to kill the sheep first, who wasn’t particularly amused with being stuffed with oatmeal and other spices… before attacking the chef with a mace (who got confused between the spice… and the medieval weapon with the spikes).

For some unknown reason during Mahna Mahna, Mahna Mahna (The Muppet) left the stage leaving just his backing singers ‘The Snowths’. Scooter rushes onto the stage wondering what happened… In a bit of a bind he asks if there’s any popstars in the audience. Low and behold who happens to be sitting all of 5m away from me? Kylie Minogue!!! (what were the chances!) She took to the stage finishing Mahna Mahna before Mahna Mahna rejoins and performing together.

The O2 - The Muppets - 13th July 2018 by Luke Dyson - IMG_1159

I was lucky. I got to attend showings on both Friday AND Saturday meaning I got to see ALL the guests. On the Saturday, Kylie was replaced by Steps, David Tennant was replaced with Peter Davidson, Charles Dance was replaced with Anthony Head and Kevin Bishop was replaced with Adam Hills (The Last Leg).

Ending on Kermit’s academy award nominated song ‘Rainbow Connection’ (because what else would it be), Kermit was joined by the pop star who so happened to be sitting in the audience, the other guests and the rest of The Muppet show before leaving and taking the stage again for a ‘rousing encore’ performing The Beatles ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’, everyone came on stage and it allowed The Muppet performers (Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, Eric Jacobson, Matt Vogel, David Rudman & Peter Linz) to take a bow themselves.

Both shows I saw were amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I know my cousin (who I saw at The Saturday showing (she’s also 28)) is probably a bit jealous. I got to see The Muppets, the best drummer in the history of the universe perform live (Animal), Kylie Minogue (and Steps to be fair) singing Mahna Mahna (do-do-do-do), David Tennant reprise his role as The Doctor, the bad guy from The Last Action Hero (you so expected me to say Tywin Lannister there!) do some very strange dancing. In hindsight it was a wonderfully surreal experience but I so hope in the future it can be experienced again.

ACt 1

  1. A Few Words
    By Sam Eagle
  2. The Opening Theme
    Featuring The Muppets & Bobby Moynihan
  3. At The Curtains
    With Your Host, Kermit The Frog
  4. A Moving Medley
    Featuring Kermit The Frog, Fozzie Bear, Rowlf The Dog, Bobby Moynihan & Walter
  5. Pigs In Space
    Featuring Miss Piggy, Link Hogthrob, Dr Julius Strangepork & A Special Guest
  6. Miss Piggy Preview
    Starring Miss Piggy
  7. Happy Feet
    Featuring Kermit The Frog & Bobby Moynihan
  8. Our Salute To England
    Featuring A Special Guest & (interrupted by) Pepé The King Prawn
  9. A Moment of Culture & Refinement
    Featuring Wayne & Wanda
  10. Small Musical Interlude
    Featuring Croak-A-Pella
  11. Muppstream: A Sneak Preview
    Presented by Kermit The Frog
  12. A Rocking Performance
    Featuring Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem

Act 2

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody
    Featuring Miss Piggy, The Great Gonzo & His Chickens, Pepe The King Prawn, Beaker, Bobby Moynihan, Sweetums With Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem
  2. The Boo Danube
    Featuring The Musical Spirits
  3. Muppet Labs
    Featuring Dr. Bunsen Honeydew And His Assistant Beaker
  4. Maybe It’s Because I’m A Londoner
    Featuring Rowlf & The Baskerville Hounds
  5. Fozzie Bear Comedy World Record
    Featuring Fozzie Bear, Kermit The Frog & Bobby Moynihan
  6. Køøkïng With The Swedish Chef
    Featuring The Swedish Chef & A Special Guest
  7. A Moment Of Dignity & Class
    Wayne & Wanda
  8. Miss Piggy: Behind The Scenes
    Starring Miss Piggy
  9. A World of Delusion
    Featuring The Great Gonzo
  10. Mahna Mahna
    Featuring Mahna Mahna, The Snowths & Surprise Guests
  11. A Fabulous Unforgettable Performance
    Starring The Incomparable Miss Piggy
  12. Rainbow Connection / The Magic Store
    Featuring Kermit The Frog & Company
  13. A Rousing Encore
    Featuring Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem & Company

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