I like children’s theatre, a lot. It means I can sit and eat sweets and I only have to concentrate for an hour. A bit like when I got fixated on Newsround as a student – it made news SO much easier to understand. Zoom.
Of course not! I’m ever so highbrow. But seriously, children’s theatre is absolutely brilliant these days. I’m lucky enough to have a fantastic venue right on my doorstep, called the Nuffield. My husband and I used to go semi-regularly and watch all manner of cool, kooky, hipster shows, but these days the kids are where it’s at. The Nuffield team asked me if I’d like to go along with the girls to see Room on the Broom, and of course I said yes. Handily it’s Moo’s birthday this week anyway, so that’s a score on the present experience front right there.
I love Julia Donaldson – what parent doesn’t? – and we’ve previously been to see Stick Man as well as What The Ladybird Heard. I find the books translate really well onto the stage, with a tendency towards very small casts and lots of clever set and prop changes. Because the cast is so small, the actors work beautifully together, often playing more than one role and embracing the slapstick with their delivery. The energy and enthusiasm they have is just amazing and they genuinely look as if they love what they do.
The first time we went to see a stage production of a book, I wondered how on earth they could drag the story out for an hour, as they’re not exactly weighty tomes. This is where the beauty of song comes in – a series of upbeat little numbers manage to extend the longevity of the book and get the children singing along, which is really rather lovely. I can’t read What The Ladybird Heard now without singing “…and the cow went moo, moo, moo…” although this is probably for sentimental Moo-based reasons.
The set is bright and colourful, and both children were rapt throughout (even when we ran out of sweets). A quick glance around the audience showed a scene of very jolly faces, and I didn’t even yawn ONCE which is no mean feat considering I’d squeezed in a 7.5 hour working day into 6. It’s half term and tickets are limited, but if you happen to be in the Southampton area then do see if you can get along to a performance in this current run. If you’re not, I really would recommend having a look at what your local theatre has on for the little ones. Often stage shows run national tours so if you see something advertised, check ahead in the What’s On listings and see if it’s coming your way later in the year.
Disclaimer: I received tickets to go and see Room On The Broom at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton in exchange for this review. I loved it, and I’m not just saying that, and I’d heartily recommend it to allcomers. For further detail about my work with brands, please refer to my full Disclosure Statement.