Some children’s theatre experiences can be less than entertaining for the grown ups it has to be said but when you go and see something adapted from a Julia Donaldson book you’re kind of safe in the knowledge that you’ll enjoy it despite your age… Much like her books with something fun and entertaining to grab the attention of all who read them, the theatre productions seem to capture the same magic and pass the stories onto the stage with great aplomb!
There’s just something in her rhyming genius which translates into theatre extremely well and even when you know a story REALLY thoroughly and think you know exactly what the characters should look and sound like, when you see them performed live you are somehow never let down. Or that is my experience anyway and we’re lucky enough to have had a fair few.
On Sunday we got to see another of her books brought to life at the Lyric on Shaftesbury Avenue. By night the theatre is home to the Michael Jackson musical ‘Thriller’ which is not to my taste and is actually one of the only productions I have ever walked out of for disliking it so much (I am a massive MJ fan but this didn’t do it for me) so I was very happy to find that the theatre’s new day time show is every bit as good as I wanted it to be even though my expectations (being Donaldson AND being produced by Tall Stories who also did the Gruffalo) were high. I often find when you assume something will be amazing it rarely meets up but this time, happily I can say it most certainly did! Room On The Broom Live On Stage was simply marvellous!
We adore the book as we do most of her stories and the show lived up to every second of it. Four simply superb actors/singers/puppeteers drove the show onwards with lots of laughs for the little ones and a few over the head jokes for the grown ups too! I loved how before the show the actors were amongst us in the audience, already participating and chatting while they started the story off as they ‘camped in the woods’. Seamlessly we moved from this outside plot into the story we all know so well and before we knew it time had flown so fast we were back with the campers having seen the story acted out in front of us!
They didn’t miss a beat and all the extra bits to plump it out for a show were so in keeping it felt very natural. I was also mightily impressed with the actors ever so nearly got the giggles as all the children in the audience started howling like dogs copying THE dog from the story but they managed to keep it together. Us audience thankfully didn’t have to and as one we all heartily laughed as this Mexican wave of howling children roared around the theatre spontaneously! It had obviously never happened before but if I were them I’d encourage it, it was a very funny interlude in an already very charming and entertaining tale.
The singing was wonderful especially from the witch and the actor who voiced the frog and the dog was simply brilliant! The other two were also very, very good but the American frog was my favourite by far so he HAD to get a mention! A lovely show which sits very nicely in the festive line ups of London but which would also stand up all year round. If you get the chance to go then you should!
We were sent complimentary tickets in return for an honest review.