That young children loved this and were completely in awe having seen the âreal' Gruffalo is no surprise. An energetic performance and pantomime style audience participation added to the excitement particularly when the Gruffalo invited the audience to help. It's all very cute (and loud) as the children get really involved. The timing of the show is perfect; just as the children break up for the summer and the duration is an hour long (just about right for primary school children).
Having read Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler's book to our children (over and over again) we know it is a favourite and this was partly the issue. The book is filled with beautiful images and I guess we expected the set to be more in keeping with the book, but it was really quite basic. Although it clear was a forest it lacked the enchantment you would expect and we felt it was a missed opportunity.
We really liked the performances from the actors and our favourite was The Mouse and of course The Gruffalo. Their performances were engaging and charming, not an easy task when you have children and adults in the audience but they did it admirably with the quick wittedness of seasoned performers. Musical numbers helped crank up the atmosphere and who doesn't like a bit of Madness type ska or Thriller? Costumes were great and The Gruffalo was particularly outstanding. We did wonder initially why the mouse's tail was a rope but soon it all made sense in the end.
After the show had ended we asked the children what they thought and of course they unanimously agreed it was fantastic and proceeded to explain why. âIt was really like being inside the book, like magic and it looked real', they said.
So I guess as adults we sometimes miss the point. The children didn't need an elaborate set or state of the art technology they simply wanted to see The Gruffalo and allowed their imaginations and great performances to do the rest. A lesson learned.
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