Is this the greatest show?

There have been subtle signs all day, whispering and scheming, the dressing up box upended in the middle of the bedroom floor, tiny pieces of paper scattered across the kitchen table.

My kids are putting on a show.

There is no escape now. Apparently, this is the moment I've been waiting for.

Both Lily and Ollie have really embraced this new area of pretend play over the last year or so. I’ve lost count of the performances I have endured enjoyed as they both express their dramatic creativity through the mediums of song and dance.

There’s the wonderfully original, like Lily and Jessica’s tale of the ‘Piraid’, a pirate and a mermaid who find each other on the banks of the river Thames and become best friends.

And the surprisingly artistic, when Ollie and Reuben put on a Power Ranger and Knight hybrid. Consisting of dancing around each other with slow-mo karate-style moves and sword waving, it was strangely artistic and beautiful. Until one of them came perilously close to taking out the others eye with the point of a foam sword. At which time, the show was cancelled.

All that bothersome health and safety nonsense getting in the way of great entertainment....

We’ve had stand up comedy shows, dramatic re-enactments of the battle scene from the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and more dance shows than you can shake a stick at.

So. Many. Dance. Shows.

And endless singing.

When they can think of nothing else, they take off all their clothes and break dance, naked, in the middle of the living room. Usually to "Thunder" by Imagine Dragons or "Waka Waka" by Shakira.

You can tell my kids have varied tastes.

Most of the time I love these shows. It's kinda cute, the first few times they show up dressed as Spiderman, a princess and a doctor and twirl around the stage, stamping their feet in time to "The Greatest Show".

But you know, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

And, to be honest, there are plenty of times where watching these shows are so excruciatingly painful that I tune out and daydream about visiting my dentist (not actually true, I’d watch a thousand shows to avoid seeing him, whoops).

Then there are the times when such performances are slow, long or tediously repetitive. When I need to paste a smile on my face and reach deep within to summon just a teeny bit of enthusiasm for the display put on lovingly for my entertainment.

Those are the worst. When there's no point to them, no story, just a dull selection of items pulled together. The shows they haven't rehearsed. The ones that last forever. The ones that end in tears because someone decides they don't want to adhere to the script.

There's always one child who gets bored and buggers off half way through.

It was easier to encourage these shows when they were younger. At an age when we applaud them for using the toilet and delight in anything that means we’re not watching Bing on iPlayer, a show performed by the little darlings is wonderful.

But now they’re older? I still want to encourage them, but watching a show is no longer a quick five or ten minutes of them being adorable but a good half hour long matinee requiring tickets, musical accompaniment and a feedback form.

I’m not kidding about that. My house is littered with cut up pieces of paper ‘tickets’ and Lily requires you to fill out your name, address, telephone number and comments before you can exit the venue.

A bloody feedback form?

That's what faces me this Sunday afternoon. A ticket placed on my desk where I'm working and a reminder that the show starts in 5 minutes. Making my way downstairs, I'm met by Ollie who inspects my ticket and hands it to Lily, sitting in the 'ticket office' behind the stool. She stamps the ticket and passes me a form.

"You need to put your name here, fill out the form and write all your comments"

Matt has already taken his seat. He's pulling double duty - unexcited member of the audience and sound technician, in charge of playing various songs from the Moana soundtrack.

I could say I'm looking forward to this momentous event.

But that would be a lie.

Lily introduces the show and proceeds to sing and dance to 'You're Welcome'. She's clearly been watching too much Strictly Come Dancing and her face is fixed in a rictus grin, eyes staring up at the ceiling, spinning like top with limbs flailing in time with a beat that only she can hear.

On the other side of the room, Matt is desperately trying not to giggle behind his hands as Ollie, already bored of his scripted role, starts to break dance.

I applaud as the show ends with a flourish and ask myself

"Is this really the greatest show?"

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