Sunday, 18 December 2016

The Gruffalo - Review

Lyric Theatre, London


Adapted from the picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

The Cast

Returning to the West End for a remarkable fifteenth year, the Tall Stories Theatre Company again bring Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's tale of delightfully scary goings on in the deep dark wood, to London's Lyric Theatre.

The stage is vividly set with trees and logs as we meet Ellie Bell's Mouse who bravely and imaginatively scares off all her would-be foes with tales of the terrifying Gruffalo. Charlie Guest puts in three deliciously deplorable appearances as a fox, an owl and a snake in turn - with the kids in the audience being whipped into frenzies of participatory delight as the story unfolded.

Making up the cast of the three, Steve McCourt metamorphoses delightfully into The Gruffalo for the story's thrilling conclusion. It all makes for great seasonal children's theatre, with Rachel, my 5yo assistant for the visit, being thrilled throughout, declaring the Gruffalo her favourite character of them all!

If there's one criticism it's that the current casting carries just a hint of gender stereotyping with not one but four predatory males out to consume Bell's female mouse. Even so, at just under an hour's length The Gruffalo makes for perfect entertainment for the little ones, with Tall Stories promising a sequel of The Gruffalo's Child for next year!

Runs until 8th January 2017
Photo credit: Tall Stories

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