Australian actress playing Peppa Pig snorts, plays hide-and-seek

Bekki Adams (centre) plays the mud-loving Peppa Pig. -- PHOTO: BIZ TRENDS MEDIA
Bekki Adams (centre) plays the mud-loving Peppa Pig. -- PHOTO: BIZ TRENDS MEDIA

Australian actress Bekki Adams takes on Peppa Pig in her first major role

Australian actress Bekki Adams' first major production since university involves her snorting on stage. The 25-year-old is playing human-like pink cartoon character Peppa Pig in a theatre production based on the popular eponymous children's television series.

Peppa Pig Live! Treasure Hunt, which is coming to Singapore at the end of this month, has an all-Austalian cast and has been staged more than 650 times in Australia and Britain.

Adams, who previously acted in comic opera The Mikado, said: "Learning how to snort was daunting, but I loved it. I'm lucky that the British accent, which Peppa speaks in, has become second nature too."

The Peppa Pig cartoon, now in its seventh season, was first screened on British television network Channel 5 in 2004. In it, the bubbly Peppa Pig jumps in mud puddles and snorts, but also goes to the playground, rides bicycles and swims - activities which kindergarteners can relate to.

The stage show has a slightly different plot - Peppa Pig, her brother George and Danny Dog set off on a treasure hunt on Grandad Dog's boat, in the company of friends such as Pedro Pony and Polly Parrot - represented by puppets on stage.

Before each show, Adams and her co-actors will warm up by playing hide-and-seek.

Adams, who hails from Brisbane and studied musical theatre at the University of Ballarat (now part of the Federation University Australia), had also practised with a doll and watched many episodes of the cartoon since she auditioned successfully for the show two years ago.

Her experience in teaching kindergarten students how to sing and dance has also helped her understand what makes children tick - for example, how children in the audience cry not necessarily because they are sad, but because they are overwhelmed.

"Sometimes, I can't see them because the stage lights are too bright, but I just wave and assure them that things are okay," she adds.

Besides crying kids, Adams has also encountered funny ones - such as a boy who thought there was a yellow snake on stage during one of the shows.

"We then spent the rest of the show assuring him that it was actually a fish, which wasn't real. We've also had kids come up to introduce themselves during the show. When that happens, we just stop what we're doing and acknowledge them," she says, laughing.

Adams shares these stories with her 26-year-old boyfriend who also does children's theatre.

The youngest of three siblings became interested in the arts through her parents, who allowed her to join bands and choirs as a child, despite not having artistic careers themselves - her mother is an administrative manager in her 50s, while her father, 60, is an electronics technician.

One of her two elder brothers, 26, is a theatre actor, while the other, 28, is an economist.

Adams is also not worried about accusations that Peppa Pig is not family-friendly. British newspaper The Daily Mail reported that children were splashing in muddy puddles and talking back to their parents like Peppa does and taking on her brother George Pig's preference for chocolate cake over vegetables.

She said: "I'm quite interested in the controversy, actually. Parents can always use the show as a springboard to discuss with their children if Peppa's behaviour was right."

Asked if she feels that Peppa is being overshadowed by popular Disney characters, she says: "Although Peppa may not be glamorous and princessy, she has her own audience. She's a little pig which gets dirty, but kids love her anyway."

sarahgyx@sph.com.sg