Going to kids’ theatre in London these days is a bit like exploring the back catalogue of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
Or at least that’s what it seems like as another cracking adaptation of the popular author and illustrator’s works flies headlong into the West End.
Room on the Broom serves up a witches’ brew of comedy, puppetry and songs that had the babes and mama spellbound, and giggling inanely, from start to finish.
The fun kicks off with a game of hide and seek between cast members and audience, all before ‘curtain up’. Then the actors are back on stage playing 4 characters on a camping trip who spot what appears to be a witch and her cat zooming by on a broom.
Cue crash landing and our intro to the ramshackle witch and her feisty, feline chum, who manage to lose a hat, bow and wand on their adventures but gain a dog, a bird and a frog for their troubles.
The cast of 4 take on all the characters, with the witch and her cat played by the female leads, and the animals brought to life by the puppeteering wizardry of the male actors.
I was charmed to bits by the surprisingly realistic Dog who turns the action up a notch as soon as he bounds onto stage. The fast-talking Frog also brought the house down with his country & western lament about being kiss-chased by a princess.
As the story goes, the motley crew come up against a not-so-scary Dragon who fancies a bit of witch and chips for his tea. But before you can say hubble bubble, it’s a happy ending for all, complete with pimped-out broomstick and catchy singalong.
Room on the Broom is produced by Tall Stories, the company behind The Gruffalo Live and this latest show is nothing short of magic.
Go see it!
On the Spot
Chieun with Elise, 3 and Torgua, 6
‘I thought it was a really fun show, the music was good and it had loads of extras for the kids.’ Torgua says, ‘My favourite bit was when the witch turned the engine off on her broom and they started falling’. And Elise’s best bit? ‘Mud’. (I think she means the swamp)!
Room on the Broom at Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Ave, WC2 (Piccadilly Circus tube) until Jan 13, 2013
Showtimes 11am (Wed-Fri), 10am & 12pm (Sat-Sun), some performances 2pm (confirm times on web site); £13-£20.50/family £60