The Gruffalo's Child. 2016. Credit - Toby Mitchell for Tall Stories
Having watched The Gruffalo earlier this year at Richmond Theatre with my daughter (read review), we couldn’t wait to see the stage adaptation of The Gruffalo’s Child especially as Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s books and films are a staple at home.
Like The Gruffalo, its sequel, also a musical produced by Tall Stories opens with the Gruffalo snoring in the cave that he shares with his daughter, The Gruffalo’s Child. That snore echoes around the theatre intermittently throughout the show like a much-loved family member.
On stage, we have a simple yet effective set design with a large full moon and moving trees and a narrator making it easy for the little ones to follow.
Those familiar with the Gruffalo will know that he is afraid of the big bad mouse. He passes this fear on to his curious child who takes it upon herself to venture into the deep dark woods in the dead of night to see what all the fuss is about because like any child, listening to one’s parent’s isn’t the done thing.
From the outset daddy Gruffalo portrays this monstrous mouse as something you really don’t want to encounter but all this does is fuel his daughter’s imagination further and off she goes whilst daddy Gruffalo is sleeping.
The Gruffalo’s Child has an eventful night during her quest to find the big bad mouse. Highlights include a snake (or is it a skinny snail?) party, flying lessons with a twit ta wooing owl/cow, a ska skanking fox and even the beloved Stick Man, the protector of mice makes a brief appearance.
There are plenty of short and sweet musical numbers including ‘The Deep Dark Wood’ and ‘The Big Bad Mouse’ which alongside lots of call and answer, audience participation ensures the production moves along at a fast enough pace to keep little minds engaged.