Frequently Asked Questions
Including Hints and Tips for Parents
The best place to get an idea of how good Mr Merlin's show is, is to see him in action, but that may not be possible, so to get the low-down from lots of happy customers please feel free to visit his Facebook page, or look at the reviews on Netmums.
Don't forget to ask friends and family too. Mr Merlin has a good reputation built up over 2 decades worth of parties and events and is proud of that.
If you have seen Mr Merlin in action, and would like to leave a comment yourself, please feel free to do so. Parents who haven't seen entertainers perform really appreciate feedback from others before making their choices.
That depends on the time of year. You could get lucky and find a weekend slot just a few days before. Last minute bookings are often available, especially if you are flexible on the time but as a rule of thumb, you should be looking at 6 – 8 weeks in advance.
If at all possible try and arrange a party around children’s natural meal times, Parties from 2 till 4, sound central to the day, but you should possibly aim for 11am – 1pm or 3pm – 5pm?
If you are in a hired hall, it’s best to leave room at the front for the entertainment (with a power point), with the tables for eating at the back, and then a line of chairs facing the entertainer between them. This ensures that the children can’t get to the tables until it’s time, and it gives the parents a better view of the show and their children. Mr Merlin does perform for the whole family after all. :-) For parties at home, clear as much space on the floor for the children, and of course, move delicate breakable objects.
This may be possible, but only if planned well. Swings & slides, goals, footballs and other garden toys can be a major distraction, especially for younger children, so they would need to be packed away for the entertainment. Also if it’s sunny, then it may not be a good idea to sit out in it for too long. Especially if you consider they’ll be sat on the floor looking up at the entertainment and the sun could be in their eyes. And then there are the wasps! A compromise could be to have games outside and the show inside. If you do intend to have a party outside, then do remember to plan for rain. So either take it inside or have a hall on stand-by.
Of course. This is a good idea to cut down on costs. I once did a party for 2 sets of twins and one other. Five children. It was great fun.
That depends. If you book for the show alone, then as long as you have the space, I have no limit to the amount of children I can perform for. At schools and holiday parks I often perform for over 100 children. At theatres 200+. If you book the party package (it includes games), then for up to 40 children it won’t be a problem, above that, I can still do it, but it needs more preparation so I would need to be aware.
Balloons on the floor for the children to play with seem like a good idea but it's best not to include them as they are major distractions and can be the source of quarrels. Perhaps you can keep them to one side and give them to the kids as they leave? The same for ‘noise-makers’. The loud toys they blow into. After 5 minutes, you’d wished you hadn’t bought them.
I require very little to be honest. A parking spot nearby so I don’t have far to lug my equipment and perhaps a cuppa. :-)
Name tags or stickers on the children, why not get your child/children to write or design them? Balloons or “The party’s here” signs are always a great idea to help parents (and entertainers) find the party venue. Get help. Whether family or friends, if you have help then you won’t miss so much of your child’s special day. If you book the party package all you need to sort out is the food and perhaps drinks for the parents but that can still take up lots of time.
Children younger than 5 prefer to have free play with the occasional game. Play musical bumps with 5 year olds and they will sit down when the music stops. With younger children, some of them will sit down, some will sit down if others are, and some will just keep dancing. For 4 year olds, it is occasionally possible to do the party package but not when there are lots of 3 year olds. As a compromise, I can do an hour ‘mini-package’ for younger children. I can also do a full package with 3 year olds if it’s a joint (siblings) party with an older one, where the majority of children are older.
Having done my job well so the children are talking about it for days or weeks afterwards. Making children happy, this in turn makes parents happy. The variety of my job. The fact that I actually look forward to going to work and even when I’m really tired afterwards, I’m buzzing from it. And, making people happy. I know I’ve already said that, but I can’t stress how good that is. How many jobs get to do that every day?
Not much really. Children sometimes misbehave but that’s what they occasionally do. :-) I’m experienced enough to deal with it. If they keep misbehaving, I don’t like it when their parents watch and do nothing about it. Not being able to park close to the venue I suppose. The worst though is having loud talkative adults being disruptive. There are loud and quiet moments in my show and the silent ones can be spoilt my chatty grown-ups. They often miss their children’s special moments too. Luckily, most people who watch me know that my show is fully inclusive and they love to watch it too, so these incidences rarely happen.