For Beatrix it seems that the only way to get noticed and make a difference is to do so with a beard. Everyone has a beard – especially the men who come to her fathers' barber shop. But try as she might, Beatrix remains smooth-faced and unnoticed, until one magical night when she meets some famous bearded people.
Apparently it's lucky to cut your hair in a storm, and sure enough, when Beatrix does so, her fairy godmother appears – well, actually Wilgefortis, patron saint of bearded ladies. Or nearly so – she still needs to be recognised for one more miracle to be regarded as a saint. What she does have is the power to let Beatrix meet historical figures. Henry VIII, Rasputin, Blackbeard: Beatrix soon realises not everyone with a beard was necessarily good. As she steps through the mirror to visit famous names from Archimedes to Darwin, she manages to help out with some age-old problems, and begins to realise that perhaps beards aren't the only key to making history.
The opening parade of bizarre and baffling beards was brilliant, but could have done with being a little slower to give us time to appreciate the well-done props and the humour surrounding their growers; it would also have elucidated some later events in the plot.
There is a good deal of physical humour, plus jokes that are more for the adults and some for the children, making a reasonable balance for a family show. Some of the historical figures were a little obscure, but I think older children would recognise most of them – and everyone knows Santa. There is a missed opportunity though with the more "disgusting" props, such as the worms, that don't get waved menacingly at the audience for laughs nearly enough!
I liked the premise; it makes a fun and interesting children's show. The hopeful messages – that people can choose what they wear, that it doesn't define them, and that who makes history is changing – are really good. Unfortunately, the ending moral reiteration and subsequent "down with the patriarchy" cry felt very out of place: too heavy-handed, spoiling what could have been quite a liberating message.
This is an enjoyable children's show, with laughs for the adults as well. While you might not feel ready to go out and change the world, you may well feel the need to get yourself a fetching blue beard.