Tag Archives: Julia Donaldson

Review of The Gruffalo’s Child – 4 Stars


The Gruffalo’s Child

Lyric Theatre

Reviewed – 24th November 2017


“the catchy songs get stuck in your head for hours after you’ve left the theatre”


Tall Stories’ latest production of The Gruffalo’s Child is heart-warming and the perfect family show for the run up to Christmas. The musical is adapted from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s book, and is the sequel to The Gruffalo. The story continues on from the first instalment, and this time follows the journey of the Gruffalo’s child, played by the wonderful Sophie Alice. She goes on a quest to find the Big Bad Mouse, and along the way meets all the characters we recognise from The Gruffalo: the snake, the owl, the fox and of course, the clever mouse.


The cast is made up of only three actors, but their energy fills the stage. They work extremely well together, and are perfectly in sync in all their actions. The show utilises a lot of physical theatre and this is only successful because of how well the actors work together. Catriona Mackenzie brings the character of the mouse alive, also acting as a narrator throughout. Sophie Alice as the Gruffalo’s child, captures the childlike energy of the character. Andrew Mudie is particularly impressive, playing four completely different animal characters, each with his own distinct accent and personality. He easily seizes the audience’s attention, even the youngest of children, and engages everyone in audience participation.

Composers Jon Fiber and Andy Shaw did a great job of transforming the short storybook into a musical. The music and lyrics are simple, but fitting to the show, and the catchy songs get stuck in your head for hours after you’ve left the theatre. Whilst some of the content can be considered a little dark, with the young Gruffalo threatening to eat all of the animals she meets, this is true to the original story and helps move the narrative along.

The set (Isla Shaw) is very simple, consisting of a few trees and rocks that get moved around the stage to create new settings, placing the entire focus on the fantastic trio of actors. There is the perfect balance of audience participation, and the show is interactive enough to keep young children entertained throughout. With a running time of only 55 minutes, Olivia Jacobs’ direction delivers a very fast paced, delightful one act show. The Gruffalo’s Child is perfect for anyone looking to take their children for a Christmas treat, especially if they are fans of The Gruffalo books.


Reviewed by Charlotte Cox

Photography by Toby Mitchell for Tall Stories





is at The Lyric Theatre until 7th January 2018




Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com



Review of Tiddler & Other Terrific Tales – 5 Stars

Tiddler thespyinthestalls

Tiddler & Other Terrific Tales

Leicester Square Theatre

Reviewed – 11th July 2017




“The show was so captivating that no one wanted to miss a moment – I don’t think I have ever witnessed such a quiet room of small children!”


What do you get when you combine live saxophone and accordion with catchy songs AND an extremely impressive array of props? The answer – a production that brings such joy to children and adults alike.

Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler’s beloved characters such as Tiddler The Fish, Monkey and of course The Smartest Giant all have their moment in this weird and wonderful display of artistic excellence.

The music and lyrics play a key role, with Benji Bowers (2 times Olivier Award nominee and Winner of Global independent film awards for Best original soundtrack for Weekend Retreat) at the helm.

Combining jazz rhythms, three part vocal harmony and various instrumental interludes, the audience feel as though this is part theatre show and part concert. It is ideal for parents who want to introduce their children to live music at an early age, as it isn’t too intrusive but fits perfectly into the story lines.

I loved how the costumes were wacky and yet even they had some significance to the story, when their stripy socks represented the characters of the caterpillars.

The set was made up of various ladders, crates and baskets, perfect for hiding objects and characters. This gave the actors plenty of space to improvise and come up with new ideas, should the opportunity arise.

The quality of acting and performing was astounding, as a trio of trained actors/musicians (Leonie Spilsbury, Lauren Silver and Brian Hargreaves), they shared character roles between them and were often juggling a prop, instrument and character all at once.

You might expect disruptions from such a young audience, however the show was so captivating that no one wanted to miss a moment – I don’t think I have ever witnessed such a quiet room of small children!

Reviewed by Stephanie Legg

Photography by Robin Savage


Leicester Sqaure Theatre


is at the Leicester Square Theatre until 3rd September



Click here to see a list of the latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com