Tall Stories have become quite the specialist in transferring children’s books to stage, and their latest, The Gruffalo Live! is no exception.
The Lyric is normally the home of jukebox musical Thriller, a show that I have never felt the need to see, so the last time I was in the stalls here was probably in the 90s.
For The Gruffalo, surrounded by pre-schoolers and their parents, I decided that getting into the spirit of Julia Donaldson’s text was the best way to spend the hour.
With a detailed and atmospheric set of trees and logs, we find ourselves in the ‘Deep Dark Wood’ with Mouse, who just wants to find a tasty nut to eat.
She meets three predators on her travels, the spiv-like Mr Fox, uber-posh Captain Owl, and the vain Senor Snake. They are all interested in a morsel of mouse-lunch, but Mouse is off for lunch with a Gruffalo!
With audience participation: “there no such thing as a Gruffalo”, this moves fast and has a definite easy rapport with audience members large and small, just as they had years ago in Play School.
All three cast members are gifted actors, physical comics, and singers – Rebecca Newman as clever Mouse, Jake Addley as all the predators (necessitating lighting-quick changes, accents, and a lot of energy), and Elliot Rodriguez as Narrator/Gruffalo.
The Gruffalo is a delightful show with something for everyone: laughs, catchy songs, a bit of suspense, a bit of education, the little guys winning, and a big dumb monster (“I’m afraid of trains!”).
The Gruffalo continues into September with matinee performances each day at the Lyric.