Children's theatre is deceptively difficult to deliver on. It looks easy but it's hard to get right. If it's too short the parents are unhappy, if it's too long the kids are unhappy and the content can easily be under or overwhelming to watch.
Tall stories have absolutely nailed putting Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's tale on stage. The perfect running time and enough audience interaction to get the audience into the show. Having had performances since 2001, it's great to see this story back again.
It's a technically simple show but the quick set changes as the show goes on are really sweet and in keeping with the style of the performance.
The show remains fresh. The magic of the story is bubbling in every scene. Harriet Waters plays the title role of the Gruffalo's child. Maxwell Tyler is the Gruffalo and Samuel Tracy the mouse. They both multi-role all the creatures she meets on her way through the Deep Dark Wood on her quest. Of course to meet one hour from a 30-page book they need to pad out the story a little. The Fox is a conniving salesman, Owl is a flight instructor and Snake is a slithering party boy. They each have a musical number and although rather silly it just seemed to get funnier.
Other than the gruff and his child the costume and set are minimal but very playful. The costume and set changes onstage add to the show. The audience also really enjoyed the use of shadow puppetry.
My daughter is 15 months old and she was hooked the whole way along. She really enjoyed clapping and bouncing along. Children aged 3-6 are probably the target age but we had great fun.
Performances are at The Garrick Theatre until 7th of January. Tickets from £12: here.
Review: Nicole Botha Photos: Charles Flint