When my friend told me the Gruffalo Live was performing in our local town, I was beside myself with excitement. BBadores the Gruffalo, both the book (written by Julia Donaldson) and the animations and he knows the words off by heart! I was gutted to find they had sold out, but my very clever brother decided to think outside the box, and look where else they were showing and we able to get tickets at The Ipswich Regent Theatre last week at what I felt was a very reasonable price of £11 but there were no child concessions.
My Mum, and husband came with us, and my brother very kindly offered to twin sit (he is slightly mad for a 26-year-old man!) and so we all headed off last Tuesday afternoon for a much-anticipated theatre production.
We arrived at the theatre and BBwas so excited. He got treated to a Gruffalo flag which has since been taken to nursery for show and tell!
The lights went down and the stage lit up. BBimmediately asked where the Gruffalo was.
‘Not yet,’ I replied ‘We have to see the mouse first.’
A very gymnastic able and tiny girl played the mouse. I could tell BBwas not convinced but he watched intently. Fifteen minutes passed and we had only just met the fox. The beginning was all about the mouse wanting a nut, with two ‘story tellers’ doing some kind of ‘dramatic’ performance in the background that the kids just did not get.
On came the snake…’But Mummy, snakes are Green, not glittery yellow!” The snake was being portrayed as an Arabian nights genie in a bottle.
On came the Owl…’But Mummy, an owl has wings” The Owl was being portrayed an air force officer.
In between each of these were ‘Where is the Gruffalo?”
I thought there would be more audience participation and on the few occasions this happened the kids went ballistic with excitement. They loved pretending to be a Gruffalo to scare the fox away and they wanted to recite the lines, but the opportunities were sparse and the actors looked frustrated if it lingered on, and yet some of their performance seemed liked filling time with non catchy songs and very poor attempts at humour! I was so disappointed.
The Gruffalo finally emerged half an hour into the performance, which might as well be a year to a three-year old. Well, BBwas sitting on my mum’s lap and was outraged.
‘That is not the Gruffalo!” he exclaimed.
With that he pulled off his sticker from his chest and proceed to show my Mum what the Gruffalo should look like. There was no wart, no orange eyes, no brown fur, (what looked like multi coloured feathers instead) and he was not remotely scary!
There was a little boy two rows in front of us dressed in an outfit from John Lewis and he looked more realistically like the Gruffalo.
My Mum summed the performance up as self-indulgent and I think she hit the nail on the head. The actors were acting this ‘drama master piece’ for themselves rather than for the small audience in front of them.
BBwas a dream, he sat and watch and participated on the few occasions allowed and was hyped on the excitement of being in a theatre, but he summed up what he thought when it finished by saying…
‘Can we put something else on now?’
He should have been saying, ‘I want to see it again!’
So clearly the Mouse was right…’Silly young Noah, why doesn’t he know, there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo!
I was not asked to complete this review and I booked and paid for the tickets myself. All thoughts and opinions are my own.