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Family

Me – mac, Birmingham

Writer: Emma Dodd (original book) Director: Samantha Lane Reviewer: John Kennedy To maintain a full house audience of parents’ and toddlers’ attention for forty minutes based almost solely on a penguin chick attempting to climb an iceberg slope is a very big ask. Less puppetry, more manipulated soft toys, at least the flippers move. The pace, however, is glacial. The ...

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The Snowman, Opera House, Manchester

Music: Howard Blake Director: Bill Alexander Reviewer: Andrea Allen Adults escorting little ones to the Opera House hoping for the magic of Raymond Briggs’ book and the festive charm of Dianne Jackson’s 1982 film adaptation may, unfortunately, be disappointed by Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s production of The Snowman. In Director Bill Alexander’s lengthy, bloated production, there’s a strong chance you’ll spend ...

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The Railway Children – Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

Three children sit around a basket

Writer: Dave Simpson, from the book by E Nesbit Director: Paul Jepson Reviewer: Scott Matthewman Edith Nesbit’s 1906 novel The Railway Children saw a step change in her writing of previous novels for children, most notably of the trilogy of books featuring the siblings who first appear in Five Children and It. Compared to the slight but fun magical adventures ...

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Your Toys – The Lowry, Salford

Devised by Slot Machine Theatre Directors: Nicola Blackwell, Fiona Creese and Nick Tigg Reviewer: Jay Nuttall “Bring your toy to the theatre” says the blurb, “we’ll take it, and all the other toys on a gigantic adventure”. The marketing is great and the premise of this show is wonderful. A family show for five-to-nine-year-olds, you can bring a prized possession ...

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Nativity! The Musical – The HOUSE, Birmingham REP

A man in the foreground reads a letter as children on a bunk bed watch

Writer and Director: Debbie Isitt Songs: Nicky Ager and Debbie Isitt Reviewer: Selwyn Knight Back in 2009, an independent British Christmas film set in Coventry exploded onto cinema screens. It proved a smash hit and spawned two sequels. That film, of course, was Debbie Isitt’s Nativity! Now, eight years later, it has undergone the transition to the stage as Nativity! The ...

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Why The Whales Came – The Lowry, Salford

Writer: Michael Morpurgo Director: Dani Parr Reviewer: Jay Nuttall Michael Morpurgo’s writing for children has become such an integral part of modern English literature that many adaptations of his truly heartfelt stories have now touched a second or third generation. Theatrical adaptations of his work, most notably War Horse, of course, has changed the theatrical landscape in the last decade. ...

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Slava’s Snow Show – The Lowry, Salford

one yellow two green clowns with net

Creator: Slava Polunin Director: Viktor Kramer Reviewer: Andrea Allen With Halloween around the corner and the remake of Stephen King’s IT recently smashing the cinema box office, it seems like these days you’re never too far away from the red noses, painted faces and slapstick comedy that are a caulrophobics worst nightmare. Slavas Snow Show proves that clowning goes so ...

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Stick Man – The Lowry, Salford

Writer: Julia Donaldson Adapter: Scamp Theatre Director: Sally Cookson Reviewer: Jay Nuttall Theatre companies and producers must jump for joy upon learning they have acquired the theatrical rights to a popular children’s bedtime book. With companies like Tall Stories eternally producing favourites like The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom, big business can be made from small picture books. Scamp ...

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