Director: Sally Aitken, Fraser Grut | Script: Sally Aitken | Cast: Greg Page (Yellow Wiggle), Anthony Field (Blue Wiggle), Murray Cook (Red Wiggle), Jeff Fatt (Purple Wiggle), Emma Watkins (vrouwelijke Yellow Wiggle), each | Time to play: 104 minutes | Year: 2023
The Wiggles aren’t very popular in the Netherlands, but as soon as someone in an English-speaking country asks about them, the quartet’s impact is quickly felt. He is now even the highest paid Australian act and is still performing after thirty years (but now with different members). That’s why it’s not surprising Hot Potato: The Wiggles Story It’s done. And even if you’re not familiar with the band, this documentary is an excellent read.
The Wiggles are four members, each dressed in their own color shirt, who have been making children’s music since the ’90s. They started as a group of twenty-somethings who sometimes went to the studio together. One of the members accidentally wrote a song that could work very well for children. So they decided to record it and in the process wrote another set of songs that they could pitch to a record label.
This grew into a gigantic empire that still has millions of fans around the world to this day, thirty years later. And with it they also attracted a multitude of celebrities, whose children listened to the music every day. The documentary also shows a funny video with John Travolta singing his music, especially funny thanks to the discomfort on his face.
At the beginning of the documentary it is not entirely clear how a dramatic line can be incorporated into this children’s story, since the beginning only records the origins of the group. Although after half an hour this seems quite long, this Australian quartet has experimented more than enough so that their story does not become boring.
However, this is not always handled subtly and it seems as if there is no good bridge to weave dramatic moments into the story. As a result, events such as 9/11, the 2019 Australian bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic are abruptly introduced. As a result, the pacing is not always enjoyable and the structure is very inconsistent.
Stimulation is a more common problem, especially in the beginning. The stories, often personal, make it difficult to enter the documentary. Mixing personal photos with professional images from your current shows is nice, but since everything is presented in slow motion, it quickly becomes a drag. But of course it would be unfair not to give equal attention to all the Wiggles members who perform.
As the documentary focuses on his growing celebrity, it gains more expressiveness. The heartbreaking reality of their lives is exposed during the tour. Most of them were already parents when they started traveling and had to leave their young children at home to entertain other people’s children. In addition, depression and health problems also occur.
The latter in particular provides an emotional climax. The members of The Wiggles still seem like everyday people, full of love and integrity, which is refreshing considering their celebrity.
The final concert that the original members of The Wiggles perform is in an arena full of young adults. Images of this concert are sprinkled throughout the story, but the structure is so well done that the ending is satisfying. The nostalgia won’t appeal to everyone, but this documentary still has enough to appeal to everyone’s heart. And who knows, maybe it will give parents with young children a new favorite bond.
Hot Potato: The Wiggles Story can be seen in main video.