I look forward to half term in Shrewsbury so I can spend some valuable time with my two little ones.
But as all mums know, keeping them occupied, especially at their ages, can require some forward planning, so I was so thrilled to see a stage performance of The Gruffalo on at Theatre Severn. I jumped at the chance to take my eldest, thinking it might be a bit too involved for my younger daughter to follow.
The show came to our stage direct from a smash hit West End Season, and had been adapted to the musical stage from the award-winning Tall Stories picture book by Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
The Gruffalo was voted the nation's number one bedtime story by BBC Radio 2 listeners and has been performed to well over a million people the world over and has even hit the small screens in a star-studded TV animation.
The stage show was a little different to what I had anticipated, but that didn’t stop Maddie, the packed audience and myself having a great time. We also met a wheeler-dealer Fox, an eccentric old Owl and a maraca-shaking, party mad snake – all character depictions were true to the original story.
The tale goes that Mouse can scare these hungry animals away with tall stories of the terrifying Gruffalo, but know one, Mouse included, could have predicted what happens when he came face to face with the very creature he imagined.
The show was billed for children and ‘their grown ups’ from three upwards. I expected the characters to be fully dressed in outfits depicting the animals, so you wouldn’t see the actors. But instead, the actors were cleverly dressed as the animals – just giving a suggestion of the creature they were playing. So the actor portraying the snake for example, was dressed in rather cool and magical coloured attire, but so you could still see he was a man and follow his actions and movements.
I’m not sure my youngest would have followed this, but being a fan of the story, my eldest really got into it and it didn’t phase her at all. There were lots of laughs and the scary wasn’t too scary. The songs and music were really enjoyable too and I could see from all the other children around me who were enthralled also that everyone had a good time. As previous reviews in the nationals have said, it really was charming.
Theatre Severn has a varied programme but there is always something for your little ones. Make sure you check out what’s on via the Theatre Severn website
Watch The Gruffalo stage show trailer online at www.gruffalolive.com.
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