We went to see Giants Are Small and the New York Philharmonics Orchestra at Barbican a few weeks back. What a brilliant show it was!
The concert was based on Stravinsky’s Petrushka, a tale of love and death taking place at a Russian Fairground. The concert was simply breathtaking especially that we had a first row seats (simply booked a few months in advance, same price for all).
There were a few, dressed up in black puppeteers who were operating a number of stunningly crafted hand-puppets. These in turn were being constantly filmed by two cameras (on the wheels, operated by a couple of people) and the images were directly projected into the large screen hanging above the stage. A brilliant way to teach the children how the animation works and how the animation films are being made. Mine were mesmerised!
There were also some dancers including the main character performed by ballerina and some brilliant visual light effects. And the New York Philharmonics of was brilliant of course, the players were dressed in funny Russian outfits and were very entertaining jumping out of their seats to the different part of the music.
A brilliant mix of classical music, great narration, puppets, dance, film and visual effects. You can probably guess by now that there was something happening on the stage all the time and as such the attention of all my three remained at its highest throughout!
As the show was brilliant, our return from the Barbican was anything but great. At the back of Barbican there is an outdoor cafe area with.. some rather deep fountains and some large stones scattered around. As soon as Conrad saw this he was ‘in his element’ (to be fair to him there were a few other children, although older in appearance, who were jumping from one stone to another).
So off he went, it all took place so quickly! He actually asked me very briefly whether he could go and jump and me listening to my common sense should say a definite No but then looking at the other children happily hopping from one stone to another and not wanting to spoil the fun he was having, I said ‘I don’t really think so (I had a fifth sense!!) but if you feel like you really want to you can’.
That was all he needed and he was off in a flash. He jumped into the first stone and it is only then when he realised that it is a far bigger challenge than he has originally envisaged at first but then he was no longer in position to stop himself (he is as fast as a spark!).
He managed to touch the second stone with his feet but it was too close to the edge and I could see it happening here and then. He started slipping into the water (it was very cold and deep all the way up onto his waist). My heart has stopped but luckily his ‘survival mode’ kicked in and he quickly pulled himself up (‘like I have been doing push-ups at PE mumme’ he later told me!) holding on to a stone in front of him.
He emerged standing on the stone wet up to his chest, looking totally shocked and.. on a verge of crying (but he didn’t!).
I quickly got him back from the stones – it all happen so fast that the rest of the family has missed the most of it all. My very first reaction was to cuddle him and be grateful nothing serious happen to him but then my ‘parenting mind’ got to have its say and I gave him a quick lesson about taking the responsible risks.
From the hindsight I should rather cuddle and comfort him first and only once dry and safe I should have go through the whole scenario with him and learn the lessons but then I didn’t want to lose the momentum and risk another similar type of ‘accident’ happening to him in the future (which inevitable will as he is such a brave risk-taker!).
We went to the Reception and ask for some dry lost property clothes to change him into. There was nothing other than a huge red ‘Barbican’ jumper so we took some clothes from Giselle and Arthur and he was wearing my husband’s coat, no pants (sic!) and wet trainers with no socks. A long trail back home with a happy ending I guess…
And yes I should have probably dropped an email to Barbican notifying them of the accident and flagging up the potential danger for the children the place may entail (there is no access restriction nor any warning in place).
The blogger below has written a brilliant description of the Petrushka event: