Review: The Gruffalo’s Child
Venue: Grand Opera House, July 9
Many years ago, I remember reading The Gruffalo to one of many young cousins I had the pleasure of babysitting. It features the simple tale of a Gruffalo who is scared of a Big Bad Mouse, in reality a normal mouse who thinks on his feet.
Told in simple rhyming couplets, it is a favourite of many children, and indeed parents, the world over.
This show, a sequel, focuses on the Gruffalo’s Child, and her exploration of the off limits woods near her cave. She seeks out all the creatures her father is not afraid of, en route to meeting the Big, Bad Mouse.
The story is told via a very simple stage setup, three actors and a lot of songs. Some catchy, some less so.
On this hot Tuesday afternoon, I was expecting a lot fewer people than actually came along. In fact, York’s Grand Opera House was rumbling with the noise of several hundred kids and parents of all ages.
As I arrived, tucking myself away at the back, the actress playing the Mouse (Lesley Cook) was up in the Dress Circle chatting to the crowd, interacting nicely with the kids, keeping them occupied.
The introduction of the Gruffalo himself scared several smaller children enough that they left, and I give massive credit to the actors for getting through the show with a general hubbub of small child noise!
The cast were excellent, using the simple set to convey movement, some catchy songs (Stick With Me) and very clever physical performances to tell the story. There were nice lines to keep the grown-ups happy – well, if you like a pun, and I do. My favourite was “Mice Krispies” by the way.
My only criticism really is the section where our heroine meets the Fox. A very talky segment, requiring way too much concentration for a four year old, especially with the sound being a little on the quiet side. I found myself straining to hear occasionally over the din of melting children.
Great fun for all the family, especially the four to eight age range. Just make sure you pick up a bottle of water…
- The Gruffalo’s Child continues at the Grand Opera House on Wednesday, July 10 at 10.30am and 1.30pm
- See the theatre’s website for more details