The Gruffalo (Vaudeville Theatre)
Tall Stories' much-loved kids show returns
The Vaudeville Theatre was absolutely packed on the first of three performances a day, for Tall Stories' returning show The Gruffalo. I have never seen so many under 4 year-olds so quiet. You could have heard a pin drop. Until, that is, they all screamed out the famous line from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's award-winning book: "There's no such thing as a Gruffalo!"
Narrator Owen Guerin opened the show, which takes audiences on a trip through the deep dark wood and the story of the mouse and the Gruffalo. Isla Shaw's set is simple but effective. The cast are clearly enjoy playing together and there is a lovely sense of humour that filters through the performance.
I had taken two of my children and, although slightly old for the book, they still really enjoyed the show. There are catchy and simple songs that connect each scene as Mouse - played by Ellie Bell - meets the three predators - the sly fox, the dithering owl and the stupendous maraca-shaking snake - played brilliantly by Timothy Richey.
In the words of Eloise, who is 8 years-old: "I think that Ellie Bell was an outstanding Mouse she really showed a lot of facial expression and really made herself sound a lot like the Mouse. Owen Guerin was a fantastic Gruffalo and acted the part really well. Timothy Richey amazed me how he learnt all of the lines, how he changed so quickly from costume to costume."
Morag Cross' choreography helps to keep the children entertained. In its 15th year we have no doubt that there is a Gruffalo and his story is warming hearts across London and will be for years to come.
The Gruffalo runs at the Vaudeville Theatre until 3 January.