We had a Parent Daughter day and left the little one with Grandma to take the big one to see the Grufflalo, M loves the Gruffalo, and most of Julia Donaldsons books, it all started with George the Giant a book she brought home from the nursery. We read it many time and then I saw a Julia Donaldson book bag the next time the book people were in my work, I had heard of the Gruffalo but not actually read it, so we borrowed it from the library and read that along with the Gruffalo’s Child book that we got in the book bag. M loved the story and at Christmas both the film shorts were on the TV. For a short time M was Gruffalo obsessed and has always had a liking for the book, films and playing hiding from the gruffalo. We went out on a day trip to the Gruffalo woods in Thorndon Country Park. So the next logical step was to take her to see the Gruffalo Live!
It was a big surprise, a trip into London and her first ever theatre experience. the guidelines said 3+ but I was confident M would qualify and sit still for the hour performance.
We got to the theatre and waited outside for the doors to open. I’m not sure M really knew what to expect from the whole experience. We went to our seats and sat down we were in the Third row in the stalls so pretty close to everything and actually they were good seats, unfortunately M did get a big adult head in front of her which practically blocked her whole view so I put her on my lap to watch the show.
While we were waiting we brought the Gruffalo felt wavy thing, Which is actually good quality. M kept asking when the Gruffalo was coming. The stage was well set as the deep dark wood and
The show started and the lights dimmed. The three performers entered onto he stage and dazzled us with there mix of Physical theatre and children’s entertaining. All in all the actors were very talented and was actually a very enjoyable and watchable show for adults too.
The mouse was played by a woman, and was very typically mouse like. She was handed a nut map and went in search of her nut. Along the way she meet the predators all played by the same very talented actor who creates a completely different performance each time, to the point where I wasn’t entirely sure it was the same man at one point. The fox, Owl and Snake all sing a song about how they would like the Mouse for dinner in each of there unique styles, The fox is a bit of a brit pop northan lad, the Owl is an army march and the snake sings a salsa.
We’ve since brought the soundtrack and I’ve been listening to in the car, it’s a welcome change from the Frozen soundtrack. The songs are quite catchy and have humour suitable for adults.
Once the preditors have been met true to the story the Mouse meet the Gruffalo played by the third actor who until now had been, narrating the story.
The Gruffalo is played in a friendly foe type way and again very good acting. He has two songs, Both quite catchy and I think my favourites in the show.
There were parts of the story where the kids were asked to interact with the show, which was great, I normally hate the pantomime style but it worked really well in this show and it wasn’t too much. The kids had to scare the fox, pretending to be the Gruffalo and they all seemed to really love doing this.
At one point the Gruffalo jumped down into the audience, which was good as we were right near to him, the kids didn’t seem to be scared of him.
The story is very true to the books and enhanced by the music and comedic acting of the characters. My daughter did sit through the whole show, so it obviously captivated her.
I did feel perhaps the show was aimed at slightly older kids and although there is an age 3+ recommended, there are lots of kids under 3 that love the Gruffalo and not sure this show is that great for them. It’s almost too clever for itself. Having said that I throughly enjoyed the show, possibly more than my daughter although since the show she has been talking about it a lot and singing the songs front he CD, so perhaps it is just the case that the show is great for all ages it just has different appeal qualities for children and adults.
If your child loves the Gruffalo I’d definitely recommend a visit to see the show.