Review of The Gruffalo at the Lyric Theatre

Steve McCourt (The Gruffalo) Ellie Bell (Mouse) & Charlie Guest (Predators)
Steve McCourt (The Gruffalo) Ellie Bell (Mouse) & Charlie Guest (Predators)

A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood,” the narrator says aloud. Yes, it is the story of The Gruffalo. There are bugs, bees, and a mouse. The scene is set and with that, you hear a sigh of satisfaction from the young audience.

The stage set is more than adequate, there are leaves, trees, logs and of course… it resembles the deep dark woods as you would imagine when you once read the book. The costumes are interesting, practical and nothing less than adorable, yet they do have a kind of look that would catch the eyes of children. Quite handy really, as this is a play aimed at 3 plus.

The cast have really engaged with the audience, they have used lines from the book that everyone knows, so that the little kiddies could join in. They had the whole auditorium, children and the adults too, roaring pretending to be a Gruffalo trying to scare the cunning Fox, eccentric old Owl and the party mad Snake, there was a bit of singing too.

The music and the lyrics were good, and the children once again related to the words… I hear them whispering and shouting ‘knobbly knees and a poisonous wart at the end of the nose’.

The cast consisted of, The Gruffalo, Mouse, and Predators. They were amazing in their performances and full of energy. Their facial expressions brought the characters to life more so than their costumes. The costumes were fluffy and at times there was glitter.

There were times when the audience spontaneously continued shouting out, however, this didn’t deter the cast, instead they embraced it wholeheartedly, allowing the audience to make the most of the moment while the cast absorbed it as though it was part of the play. There were other moments when The Gruffalo came off the stage and got down on a one-to-one level with a few of the audience members in his playful cheeky manner, which added to the excitement and the fun of the show.

There was the perfect amount of music, audience interaction, subtle and in-your-face jokes to keep both the adults and children engaged and interested. Tall Stories are dedicated to bringing great stories to life on stage for audiences of all ages, and they certainly have done a great job here.

This play is based on the much-adored picture book, ‘The Gruffalo’. It is the UK’s bestselling picture book. And as Julia Donaldson, the author of The Gruffalo says, they have “been faithful to the words and structure of the book“. By doing this, it has really brought the play to life for the little ones and the audience is suitably entertained, especially when the toddlers are roaring with excitement. I had no idea they could shout so loud!

4 stars

Review by Shaidi Ramsurrun

A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood…
Join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood in Tall Stories’ magical, musical adaptation of the classic picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

Searching for hazelnuts, Mouse meets the cunning Fox, the eccentric old Owl and the party mad Snake. Will the story of the terrifying Gruffalo save Mouse from ending up as dinner for these hungry woodland creatures? After all, there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo – is there?

Songs, laughs and scary fun for children aged 3 and up and their grown-ups, in the much-loved show that’s toured Britain and the world!

‘The Gruffalo’ is currently at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue until 8th January only.
Read our interview with Olivia Jacobs – Director of The Gruffalo

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