Luke Skywalker, a Wookie, or erm a Squid Head, use the Force to reveal your Star Wars identity – just make sure you take time to come up with a witty moniker, lest you draw sniggers from strangers.
Sometimes as fathers we doubt ourselves but each time my five year old son, Arthur, quotes Star Wars to me, I know I am doing something right. And so, it seemed only fair that I should take him to see STAR WARS Identities: The Exhibition at the o2; after all it had all the markings of a perfect father-son day.
We were suitably excited on our journey to the o2 from our home in south London and before we’d even set foot inside the show we’d burned off some energy, running around looking at the buildings – proving once more that if you give a child space and a nudge of encouragement, a playground they will make.
Once in, we were given earpieces to wear which give you a commentary when you stand in front of certain parts of the exhibition. It took a while to get mine and Arthur’s working, not aided by the fact we were pretty distracted by the cool droids on display. It’s fair to say that the scientific explanations of genetics and hereditary character traits were lost on 2 excited little boys. It’s a bit like dangling some sausages in front of a pair of hungry puppies and expecting them to sit still and listen to a lecture on pig rearing first.
The idea behind the show is to choose a character and develop them as you go around, in terms of background, history and temperament. Needless to say, this was a bit over Arthur’s head but with 200 original costumes, props, models and pieces of artwork, there was plenty of cool stuff to look at and listen to when the earpiece worked. The highlight of the show for both of us was seeing Darth Vader’s ACTUAL costume, which was pretty scary to see in the flesh (I challenge any Star Wars fanatic not to get the shivers just looking at it).
All of your character’s details are entered onto little touch screens as you go round – not ideal for a five year old who wants to just run around looking at everything – so I did all of Arthur’s with him, hence my hastily entered (and frankly rubbish character) name of simply ‘Stephen’.
You get to see your characters on a big screen at the end (as does everyone else) and when a couple of ‘older’ Star Wars fans burst out laughing when they saw Arthur the Wookie’s rather lacklustre rebel fighter companion, I felt a little silly. For the record, the name I was going for was Stephen ‘it’s-a-trap’ Bennett but the touch pad was taking too long and the boy ran off. Well, that’s my excuse anyway.
We rounded our day off with a visit to the gift shop where we bought a very cool R2D2 lunchbox (for Arthur, not me) followed by a slap-up meal at Pizza Express (visitors to the exhibition get a discount). All in all it was a day well spent and I scored some good daddy points. Lovely stuff.
STAR WARS Identities: The Exhibition runs at London’s o2 until 3 September. Tickets during peak times (weekends and school holidays) are priced at £25 for an adult, £15 for a child or £60 for a family ticket.