Justin's Band

Birmingham Town Hall


If you don't know who Justin Fletcher is then, the chances are, you haven't got kids.

Quite simply, the man is a legend of children's television. Whether it be via Gigglebiz, Something Special, Justin's House or The Tweenies, he is a man who has been captivating the children of the UK for decades.

Justin's Band joins Justin and his friends on a quest to form their band. Whilst the quest is albeit brief and somewhat uneventful - don't expect Lord of the Rings here - it is a charming route for the children to learn about different instruments and meet the musicians who play them.

With a show that lasts just under 2 hours, with an interval, it is brief enough to not test the staying power of the smaller children but long enough to feel you have got value for money. The only thing to note is that booster seats (costing a pound each) are essential for smaller children in the lower stalls.

The excitement within the room was palpable as Justin emerged - with the audience encouraged to participate throughout via dancing, shouting out and singing. Overall it is a really good natured show, with inclusivity at its core. The children in the audience are referred to as part of the band throughout, a member of the audience got to play the triangle and there was a signer throughout. Indeed, Justin even lets the audience know at the start that they were more than welcome to take video and pictures; a move unheard of in many shows.

There were a few sound issues early on but, ever the pro, you hardly even noticed Justin having to resort to a hand held mic at times.

Though primarily about the music - covering trumpets, accordions, trombones, drums, saxophones, guitars, flutes and pianos - the show has enough slapstick fun and wit to keep everyone entertained.

Aficionados of Justin's House will be glad to see custard pies making a rather messy appearance, in what was one of the funniest parts of the show. The cast, including a team of support dancers/singers for Justin build a lovely rapport with the children, never patronising them and always including them.

The star of the show though is Justin - a man who exudes such genuine warmth and gentleness that I would dare anyone not to participate in Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. He made a point of voicing his appreciation of all the support the audience had given him over the last 25 years; I dare say many parents greatly appreciate the help he has given them over the years in the often fruitless search for peace and quiet.

This is a show which is suitable for all the family and brings out the child in all of us and is highly recommended.

You can't help but feel like the world would be a better place if everyone lived their lives to the same principles as Justin Fletcher performances are founded upon; friendship, love, tolerance and fun.

If you are lucky enough to get tickets - The Birmingham date was packed to the rafters - then you are guaranteed to be leaving with a smile on your face.

Theo Clarke


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