Gruffalo’s Child takes kids on woodland adventure

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Snoring loudly, he was right there on stage at Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre, along with his child.

This was Tall Stories’ production of Gruffalo’s Child, follow-up to the best-selling children’s book The Gruffalo.

The characters created by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler have captivated children and their parents alike.

Their simply rhyming language made it easy for audience members to join in the hour-long production, just long enough to hold the attention of young fans.

The story follows the Gruffalo’s child’s adventures as she ventures into the deep, dark wood one moonlit night, accompanied by her Stick Man toy.

She is led unknowingly by the mouse, and meets various predators along the way.

Ellie Bell played the title role, and Lesley Cook was the mouse. But the stand-out performance came from Tom Crook, who played the Gruffalo, snake, owl and fox.

Using a different accent for each one, he gave every character its own identity and energy, delighting the kids.

My favourite was the Spanish snake in his glittery coat who encouraged the audience to join in a dance.

It was aimed at a slightly younger age group than my ten-year-old son, but his verdict was still favourable:.

He said:“My favourite character was the owl because he was funny. I would give it four stars because it was really good.”

The story centres on the child of the Gruffalo, a strange looking creature who appears fearsome at first, but is actually a bit of a scaredy-cat.

He warns his youngster never to venture into the deep dark wood.

But of course she does, tempted by the mischievous mouse who is “terribly strong, with a scaley tail that is terribly long”.

The rhyming language is easily accessible to children, who enjoyed finishing the sentences off for the characters.

All in all the show brings the book to life faithfully, while adding to it.

For details of the tour go to www.gruffaloschildlive.com.