Ben and Leah at the performance.
“Honey,” I email my husband breathlessly. “Toopy and Binoo are coming to Toronto!”
I can’t really print what he wrote in response, but it amounts to something akin to: “F yeah!”
Let me explain. See, Toopy and Binoo are the lead characters on our two-year-old son, Ben’s, favourite show on Treehouse. One of his first hopeful words was: “Toop? Toop?” as he would gesture pathetically at the TV.
Toopy is a rat and Binoo is a cat (I think). They’re both boys (sort of) but they really really like each other and they enjoy dressing up like princesses and going on adventures and Toopy sings love songs to Binoo and they share the same bed. Naturally, they’re also originally French.
So when we hear that the live show Toopy and Binoo and the Marshmallow Moon is touring Canada, we know we have to get in. It’s just like the olden days when you would call Ticketmaster on repeat speed dial for Cult tickets (“She Sells Sanctuary,” man. A classic song!), except not. It will be Ben’s first concert, and we have to make it count.
As I wait for Ben and Jason in the lobby clutching our tickets, I see waves upon waves of people roll in with their mini-me’s in tow. Everywhere I go these days, I feel like I vaguely recognize all the parents, except that the last time I saw them we were all skinnier and the room was a lot darker.
A guy who definitely looks familiar stops in front of me.
“Hey!” I say brightly, struggling for his name. “I thought I recognized you. Uh…where do we know each other from?”
I’m panicking. Oh god, did I date him and I can’t remember? (Listen, the nineties were a busy time.)
“Back in the day,” he begins, “we used to swing…”
“It’s a different life now, eh?” he laughs, as he runs off to chase a plumber-butted kid through the lobby.
Yes, but no. The scene feels eerily familiar, like Lolapalooza, preschool stylez. There’s the lineup at the merch table, the panicked runs to the washroom so as not to miss the opening act (some sort of octopus girl, I give her a meh), and the feeling that we’re just all so cool because we all like the same thing and we’re all in it together. I’ve never been in a room with so many people who know who Patchy Patch is before. Also, we all brought the same snacks! It feels like home.
As for the show, Ben sits saucer-eyed for the first half, but recovers from his shock at seeing his heroes in human-sized puppet form enough to start clapping, cheering and randomly yelling: “Toopy! Toopy!” I’m pretty sure he would have thrown his mini monster graphics y-fronts on the stage in a fit of fandom if we’d let him. It’s ok—it was a pretty rowdy crowd, I don’t think anyone would have stopped him.
“Was that fun?” Jason asked, as he straps Ben into his car seat post show.
“Toopy and Binoo,” says Ben. “They’re real!”
For more information about the Toopy and Binoo tour, click here