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Review: The Gruffalo at New Theatre.

A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood…

We haven't been into Cardiff or to the theatre for quite a while, mostly because I've not been too well, so it was nice to have day out in the city today. When we heard The Gruffalo was being brought to life on the stage, we couldn't wait to go!

We have always adored Julia Donaldson's wonderful book, and we are firm fans of Axel Scheffler's illustrations, so I was keen to see how it would transfer to stage. I love the family shows at New Theatre, there's such a buzz as you walk into the foyer, following the people up and around the gorgeous staircase and chatting to the very helpful staff as you head towards your seat.

The stage looked wonderful, a forest full of trees and greenery, and when the lights went down we knew we were in for a treat. The story begins in the same way as the book, but with the addition of song and dance along the way.

Lauren Scott-Berry was the cutest thing I've seen in a while upon the stage, her performance of Mouse was so sweet and Molly adored her from the off. She was very cute, and she had the right amount of fear, over-confidence and uncertainty as the mouse in the book has, which is perfect for bringing the tale to life.

Aaron Millard was both the narrator and the Gruffalo, and he excelled upon the stage. He had a lot of energy and moved around the stage as if he were truly a part of it. I loved his energy and interaction with Mouse, and when he became the Gruffalo it was humorous and entertaining as his character took on a life of its own outside of the book.

Alastair Chisholm was my favourite performer, with a quirky style to his performance, he had me hooked from the start. His superb acting matched each costume, from fox to owl to snake, each character was presented differently and with so much enthusiasm and fun! I especially liked his cheekiness during the show, and I am sure I spotted occasional moments when he surprised the rest of the cast with hilarious outbursts and surprises. When it came to his performance of Snake I was actually reminded of Steve Pemberton at times, which made it all the more funnier (for me anyway!). 

I loved the songs and really wish I had a copy of them to listen at home, because I can't get the Gruffalo song out of my head! The costumes were simple yet in-keeping with the set and allowed for imaginations to thrive as tails popped out of trousers, maracas were used to imitate the sound of a snake and the fox's ears were simply upturned ear warmers on a trapper style hat. I love how the stage, set and costume not only allowed for our imaginations to blossom, they also encouraged us to think differently about how we create things during role-play sessions and how costume can work without being overbearing.

I thought the performance was hilarious, sweet and entertaining and perfect for young children, especially Molly's Age (6) because she was hooked from start to finish.

The Gruffalo is running at New Theatre until Sunday 3rd September 2017 and tickets start from £9.50, age guidance is 3 years and upwards.

Disclosure: I received tickets in exchange for review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

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