'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 24 February 2018

Event: The Gruffalo Live on Stage

I love that many classic children’s books are being reimagined for the stage. What better way to introduce kids to the theatre than with a story they already know and love.

The Gruffalo is, unsurprisingly, a well loved book in my house, so when I heard The Gruffalo stage show was coming to town there was no question that we would be going.

This was my third theatre outing with Mr Three, the first being to I’m Going on a Bear Hunt, and the second to The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This was the first time I felt like he knew what to expect and was actually excited about going to the theatre.

I’m always intrigued how such classic stories are adapted for stage and have seen it done many different ways. This adaptation was very similar to I’m Going on a Bear Hunt, in that the story was presented by three actors who kept donning a variety of dress up props to become the characters in the story. In between key story elements, the actors became themselves again, talking, joking and playing before adding another costume to act out the next scene.

There was singing and audience participation and the kids remained engaged for most of the production. Miss Eight was definitely engrossed throughout but Mr Three did have moments where his interest waned and he just wanted to flip the theatre chairs up and down…

Interestingly, Mr Three found the appearance of the Gruffalo a little scary. This was despite knowing the story so well and the actor, who had been on stage for the whole production, clearly putting on a Gruffalo like costume of brown shaggy strips that didn’t look at all scary. Maybe Mr Three was more immersed in the story than I gave him credit for!

I also appreciated that The Canberra Theatre was well prepared for the little ones, with a craft station set up in the foyer. Both Miss Eight and Mr Three delighted in creating their own Gruffalo headbands and wore them for the duration of the show (and for days afterwards until they eventually disintegrated).

Overall, another positive kids theatre experience. I look forward to the next one!

The Gruffalo Live on Stage
Presented by the Canberra Theatre Centre and CDP Kids, 28 January 2018

Based on the book, The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler