Reviewed by Cate Norris
Tall Stories’ musical adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler’s renowned picture book, ‘The Gruffalo’ has finally arrived at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham. With previous tours incorporating visits to the West End, Broadway and Sydney Opera House, I cannot even begin to sum up how excited I was, to see this world class show, on its UK tour. But if I thought I was excited, my improved mood was nothing compared to the mass hysteria of the dozens of little people that had arrived to catch a glimpse of a Gruffalo.
The theatre production stays true to the plot of the book with Mouse taking a stroll through a deep dark wood on the hunt for nuts. Poor little Mouse meets and has to scare off Fox, Snake and Owl by inventing a monster, but then Mouse meets that monster and it is of course, the Gruffalo. The show incorporates songs, dancing and jokes and focuses a little more on Fox, Owl and Snake than the book does which is great as we get to see what fantastic characters they are. I was amazed that there were only three actors completing the cast and they did an incredible job. Each character was brought to life exactly as I imagined, Mouse being gorgeous and endearing and the Gruffalo, just hilarious… I mean terrifying!
It was really lovely to see the delight in the children’s faces and hear them call out lines from the story that they know so well. The show is recommended for children aged 3 and above so I was initially concerned that I may have been going alone, thinking it wouldn’t appeal to my older children. I was delighted therefore, when my 12-year daughter and 11-year-old son expressed that they would be keen to see it too. Having grown up with this well known and loved story, they were just as eager as me to see how this would be brought to life for the stage, and relive some of the wonder of the deep dark wood with clever little Mouse. What’s more, they really enjoyed it. There were a couple of children that could be heard crying, who may have been frightened by the darkness of the auditorium. Some others struggled to sit for the duration of the show (which was 55 minutes and didn’t include an interval), and got out of their seats or had to be taken out for toilet breaks. There is also an audience participation part too, which didn’t work today as the children were confused. I personally think 3 years may be too young for some children and would recommend considering how long your child can sit and concentrate for. They may not enjoy it if they are scared of the dark. With those things considered, I would certainly recommend The Gruffalo for kids big and small.
Tickets cost from £8 to £12 (booking fees may apply).
The Gruffalo is at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham from 14-16 July 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.trch.co.uk or call the box office on 0115 989 5555.
Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Theatre Square, Nottingham, NG1 5ND | 0115 989 5555