|Image copyright The Lowry/ Tall Stories Theatre|
If you have or know a small child, you probably already know that there is such a thing as a Gruffalo. It is a terrible creature with purple prickles, knobbly knees, turned-out toes and a black tongue. The Gruffalo’s Child looks exactly like the Gruffalo, only a lot less frightening and cuter. Like most little ones that age, The Gruffalo’s Child disobeys a direct order from its parent and goes wandering in the deep dark woods in search of The Big, Bad Mouse. She meets Snake, Owl and Fox before encountering Mouse. Does she indeed meet the Big, Bad Mouse? Does anybody get eaten? Or does it end with everyone living happily ever after? That is the plot of this stage production based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s hit children’s book.
It takes more than a little talent to transform a children’s storybook into an hour long stage production that holds true to the original and still has enough novelty to enthral the audience. The Gruffalo’s Child achieves this with aplomb. The characters are each assigned behaviour traits and characteristics that make them stand out as individuals. The stage design and costumes are delightful. And the music score has you tapping your feet and clapping along. The actors are charming, assaying each character with conviction. It is not easy to remember your lines, let alone belt out a song and dance number, when members of the audience are bawling at the top of their lungs. Perhaps even more difficult to engage such an audience, which the actors manage to do very successfully.
J and I enjoyed every minute of The Gruffalo’s Child. His favourite bit was the recurrent description of the Big, Bad Mouse and the accompanying histrionics. My favourite had to be Senor Snake, swaying his Latino hips to a Paso Doble. Something for everyone, then!
The Gruffalo’s Child is playing at The Lowry all through the summer. I would highly recommend watching it.
You can now make a day of it. For the Pier Eight Restaurant at The Lowry is offering a fantastic meal deal where Kids Eat Free with a dining adult. We sampled some of the menu, and I have to say, it was not just exquisitely presented, but tasted incredible as well. J particularly recommends the chunky chips and ice cream.
I was glad to sit and tuck into a delightful plate of scallops on pea puree as I took in the beautiful vista in front of me. We were there for lunch, but imagine what this would look like in the evening with a glass of wine.
The day did not end there. To add to the excitement of the summer, The Lowry is running free children’s workshops from 11am to 3pm every day in the Galleries. They are inspired by the paintings of LS Lowry and are a great introduction to the arts for children.
We went along to one, the Superheroes! The kids had a go discussing their favourite superpowers and pretending to be Superheroes on a mission to save the world. They struck super poses and had a chance to dress up as some well known characters.
It wasn't our first visit to The Lowry, and I know it won't be our last. There is always so much happening here, you will find something for you. Check out the full listings here.
Diclosure: We were guests of The Lowry for the day for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.