‘A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood….’
Sound familiar? How about on repeat…..every night….for year upon year. Yep, in the same boat here. The under four population of our house are completely and utterly hooked on all books and films with any Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler involvement. They are totally magical though aren’t they? We had however, never seen the stage show.
Poppy and I were treated to tickets for her birthday by her lovely Godmother Holly (what a brilliant idea for a present eh? Definitely stealing that one.) and went along to a performance at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall recently.
I’m not going to lie, describing the concept to a 3 year old was tricky. There was a lot of “are we going to the deep dark wood?”, followed by blank looks in response to my explanations.
The lack of total understanding didn’t stop the excitement levels reaching level 11. SO FLIPPING ADORABLE!!!
Pre-theatre eats are a must, whatever age you are! We had ours at Bella Italia which I hadn’t been to for about 10 years but was actually brilliant for children. Crayons and colouring for each child and curly straws in bottles for drinks which helped massively to reduce the amount of spillages!
And the ice cream cart! well, that was the best bribery ever!
Unintentional matchy matchy with your bestie is just the best! These two are just too much.
So, to the Gruffalo!
The Nottingham Theatre Royal offers the loan of booster seats which were amazing and completely changed the children’s experience for the better. If your chosen theatre offers them I’d recommend getting there in enough time to get one sorted.
Also, the performance is 55 minutes with no interval so bring drinks and snacks if you think you’ll need them and definitely do loo stops before being seated!
We left our babies at home and honestly, it would have been impossible to keep them quiet/entertained for that long without the confinements of a pushchair.
The set was surprisingly simple but reminiscent of the Axel Scheffler illustrations.
We weren’t allowed to take pics during the performance so I’ll have to do my best to describe everything else.
I was totally expecting to see a version of the gentle and beautiful film but this really is totally separate from it, after all, it is an adaptation of the book. The characters are colourful and energetic and aren’t at all trying to imitate the ones from the film but that doesn’t mean to say they are any less enjoyable. The costume styles are also very different to that of the illustrations but they work really well with the concept of the play.
What we thought
I don’t want to give too much away but there is singing, humour, boundless energy and interaction with the audience which all in all, kept every age of child wide-eyed and hooked throughout the 55 mins. They all seemed to keep track of the story and knew exactly when to get involved. The children loved the characters and didn’t seem to notice that there were only three cast members fulfilling all of the roles and fully embraced each character.
Would we recommend it?
Definitely, but maybe limit that recommendation for say 3 – 8 year olds. I think older than that the magic might be lost slightly.
Here are the dates and locations for the rest of the year: