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The Gruffalo

Based on the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Tall Stories
Arts Theatre
(2006)

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In search of nuts, Mouse ecapes the rat race and goes for a stroll in the Deep Dark Woods. But the forest is full of hungry predators, and Mouse will have to use all her imagination if she is to find her lunch before she becomes someone else's. Luckily, Mouse is a mouse of many resources, and before long she has convinced the whole forest, from the wily cockney fox, to the owl who runs the Woodland Air Force Club, to the slippery maraccas-shaking party-loving snake, that her imaginary friend the Gruffalo will eat them for his dinner if they hang around too long. And Mouse won't get found out, because we all know there's no such thing as a Gruffalo, don't we...?

Following tours of the US and the UK, the hugely popular Gruffalo is back for a Christmas run at the Arts Theatre. Abbey Norman leads the cast as the fearless Mouse, Alexander Perkins plays the would-be predators and James Gitsham combines turns as the story-teller and the misunderstood monster. The three actors have the charisma and energy of a cast of twenty. Norman has the children on her side within minutes, Perkins charms as the easily-beguiled fox and has both parents and children in stitches with his owl with poor landing skills and snake with a narcissus complex. Gitsham provides just the right balance as the story-teller, and turns in an endearingly comical performance as the downtrodden Gruffalo.

The Gruffalo is a hugely entertaining musical play full of catchy tunes and memorable characters. Parents and children alike will enjoy this magical hour in the theatre.

Until 7 January 2007

Reviewer: Louise Hill