Authors: Axel Scheffler and Julia Donaldson
Reviewer: Ann Bawtree
A charming and understated rendition of some favourite tales which includes Tiddler, The Smartest Giant, The Monkey Puzzle and A Squash and a Squeeze by Axel Scheffler and Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson. Although they are the authors of The Gruffalo series we were warned from the outset, to avoid disappointment, that no Gruffaloes would be appearing that afternoon.
However, the characters portrayed by the three un-named performers, directed by an equally anonymous team and some invisible off stage musicians, were much appreciated by the audience, average age three and a half not counting the over 21s. The stage was equipped with ladders, planks, boxes, a table and several baskets. The three players appeared carrying large hold-alls from which they produced props which turned into animals, musical instruments, suits of foul weather gear, and sundry other items. The first few minutes are entirely in dumb show and it was interesting to see how much this quiet beginning grabbed the attention of the young audience.
Children who already knew the various stories, which are full of the repetitions that the very small like so much, would have been the ones to get most out of the hour’s entertainment but it was quietly enjoyed by all. There was none of the over-exuberant shouting which often ends in near hysteria, not to mention deafened adults and absolutely no merchandising. It was an altogether delightful afternoon’s entertainment
Runs until 21st May at the Connaught Theatre, Worthing, then touring.