Start with a classic story, based on a simple premise: a family on a quest to find a bear.
Add live music, inventive use of props and plenty of back and forth with the audience and you’ve got the formula for a great morning out with the kids.
We had high expectations of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Live when we set out to watch** the show at Lyric Theatre last weekend, as it’s such a fun story.
Michael Rosen’s much-loved picture book (illustrated by Helen Oxenbury) is designed for reading aloud with as much expression as you can muster.
We’re going on a bear hunt
We’re off to catch a big one
What a beautiful day
We’re not scared
The four performers take Rosen’s lively rhyme and run with it… and swish and splash and squelch!
I don’t want to spoil the surprises (of which there are several) but let’s just say if you’re in the audience, you can’t escape getting stuck in!
It’s a noisy, surprisingly sporty and frequently giggly show… little ones were literally cracking up at some of the sight gags.
The music’s catchy too and every now and then Jed (on the edge of his seat) would turn around to grin at me, bobbing his head to the beat.
I loved how they brought the book to life, creating a vivid sense of the different landscapes and seasons, and providing some truly enchanting moments.
Of course there’s plenty of anticipation for the bear… but since this production is perfectly pitched for kids as young as 3, his arrival provokes laughs rather than screams.
I’ve been lucky enough to review dozens of shows with my little ones and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Live ranks up there with my favourites.
Pack your kids (and their teddies) and go!
VIP Teddy Bear’s Picnic
After the show we were invited to a VIP teddy bear’s picnic, where we got to meet the cast and spotted some familiar faces including Jo Joyner (Tanya off Eastenders).
I had a nice chat with TV presenter Kate Garraway, who used to do a ‘cook and eat’ stay and play with us at our local children’s centre.
And Jed got a cuddle from Mel C who was very friendly and gave us her bite-sized review.
On the Spot
‘I thought the show was brilliant! It’s such a great book anyway and they’ve really done it proud. It’s a wonderful way to introduce little ones to the theatre.’ – Melanie C (with daughter Scarlet, age 4, off camera)
And Scarlet’s favourite part? ‘When the bear came!’
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Live is at Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2 (Piccadilly tube) until Sep 1, tickets £14-£21.50, suitable for ages 3+.
Watch the official trailer at www.bearhuntlive.com
Photo: Bob Workman via Bear Hunt Live
** free review tickets