An ordinary man in an extraordinary play - Mr Benn swaps hats and heads for the Rose Theatre, May 2011

Posted: 2nd March 2011

We all love a bit of retro and memory-jogging and the '70s and '80s have certainly been a source of both for the past few years, none more so than in the music scene. But recently, children's shows in London were given an awakening by a production starring a 'saggy, old cloth cat' called Bagpuss, eventually ending up in the West End. Now there is another much-loved children's character from 40 years ago, set to make a return to people's hearts and minds, not least a few adults we'll wager.

Mr Benn was an animated children's TV series originally transmitted in 1971 and was voted in at #6 in the 2001 Channel 4 poll, 100 Greatest Kids' TV Shows. Billed as a story of 'an ordinary man, living in an ordinary street, who makes an ordinary journey to an ordinary job', it struck a chord with children and adults alike and was pure escapism, particularly the bit where he visits the mysterious owner of a costume shop and changes clothes for another exciting adventure.

The Rose Theatre, Kingston, and the creators of The Gruffalo, have teamed up to bring a new stage show based on those David McKee-penned stories to a new generation. The short season runs from the 18th to 21st May and tickets cost from just £11. The show is just under an hour, contains musical numbers and is suitable for the whole family. Now then - when are they going to bring Roobarb and Custard back?

Paul Pledger