Tag Archives: The Gruffalo

Jack and the Flumflum Tree by Julia Donaldson coming to Northampton in July

Jack and the Flumflum Tree

Jack and the Flumflum Tree

A NEW theatre show for children comes to Northampton’s Royal & Derngate in July, based on the book by Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson.

Hot on the heels of the excellent Moominsummer Madness, Jack and the Flumflum Tree will be performed in the Underground theatre and is suitable for children aged 4-10.
Here’s the press blurb:
Another much-loved story by Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson, Jack And The Flumflum Tree comes to the Underground stage at Royal & Derngate from Friday 4 to Sunday 6 July.

Jack’s Granny is sick with a bad case of the moozles. And the only cure is the fruit of the fantastic Flumflum Tree which grows on the faraway isle of Blowyernose. It’s a perilous journey, but Jack bravely sets sail, with a motley crew of only three – and a large patchwork sack that Granny has filled with an odd assortment of items from chewing-gum to tent pegs. But what use will they be against hungry sharks, a leaky boat and a thieving monkey?

The show has been devised by Bamboozle, the company behind last year’s stage adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Crazy Hair, and Royal & Derngate’s Christmas show for younger children, Along The Riverbank. Puppetry is by Sue Pyecroft – whose enthralling work will be familiar to anyone who saw Alice In Wonderland, Crazy Hair or Along The Riverbank – taking her cues from the book’s charming illustrations by David Roberts.

With beautiful songs, engaging puppetry and Bamboozle’s trademark multi-sensory style, Jack And The Flumflum Tree promises to enchant family audiences, including those with a learning disabled child. It is recommended for children aged 4 to 10, or for ages 7 to 14 with learning disabilities.

Jack And The Flumflum Tree comes to Royal & Derngate from Friday 4 to Sunday 6 July, with performances at 11am and 2pm daily. Tickets, priced at £7.50*, can be booked by calling Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk.
* A transaction fee of £2.50 applies to telephone and website bookings only. Does not apply in person, or to Groups and Friends, and is per-transaction, not per-ticket.

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Review – The Gruffalo’s Child, Royal and Derngate

A MUM took a stroll to the deep dark theatre – accompanied by a three-year-old and an 11-year-old (the seven-year-old was tucked up in bed ill and the 13-year-old decided he’s rather be ‘daan taan’ with his mates).

Copyright Macmillan Children’s Books

There was much excitement about the stage show of the children’s book, the Gruffalo’s Child, the sequel to the hugely popular Gruffalo which saw a mouse outwit a big hairy monster. The Gruffalo and the Gruffalo’s Child are repeatedly requested at bedtime in our house and we know the words off by heart.

We’d actually attempted to see the original Gruffalo on stage at a festival last summer and had given up due to the huge crowds. The best place to see theatre of this kind is definitely in a small theatre.

The Gruffalo’s Child sees the eponymous heroine sneaking away from Dad into the deep dark wood to find if the Big Bad Mouse really does exist.
The show at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate was really very good, exactly as children’s storytelling should be, but I think the weather and the Royal Wedding may have had an effect on ticket sales as it was far from full. Surprising for such a popular book and well-thought-out production.

Not necessarily the cast we saw, but the only pictures available. Oh and they are Copyright Geraint Lewis

The script sticks fairly close to the original story but to duplicate it would make it considerably shorter than an hour (I can whip through a bedtime story in about four minutes), so there’s additional dialogue and songs.

The cast of three were excellent, particularly Yvette Clutterbuck as the G’s child, who bounds around the stage like a demented Kathy Burke in Perry the Teenager mode, getting the laughs, the bravado and the vulnerability just right. It’s a very physical piece of theatre, and she must have been boiling in her costume, purple prickles and all.

Our 11-year wasn’t sure if the Narrator/Mouse was actually meant to be the Mouse, as he said her costume wasn’t ‘right’, but she drove the pace of the  show along well.

The Gruffalo Dad was immobile due to the constraints of the costume on set, and Bonnie wanted to see him stomp about. We were confused by the Snake, who didn’t seem in the slightest bit snake-like. Half the fun of the snake is the alliterative dialogue of his ‘s’ sounds. This snake was portrayed as Bruno from Strictly Come Dancing. Eh?

Copyright Geraint Lewis

 However, The Owl and the Fox were marvellous, and the song and dance routines between the three actors went down a storm. Perhaps surprisingly, our 11-year-old was more captivated than his three-year-old sister. She was just too fidgety when the dialogue strayed too far from what she knew. She did, however, literally dance in the aisles, and both kids loved the use of ‘Stick Man,’ who we’d never really noticed in the book.

Oh, and after the merchandise overload of Peppa Pig Live, I didn’t see any parental mugging at The Gruffallo’s Child, as I think Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, the original authors, are quite strict about it.
We did get a ‘Souvenir Postergramme’, with a picture on one side and the cast info on the other, which I thought was a great idea.

The Gruffalo’s Child is certainly worth seeing if in your area. It’s a loving re-creation of the book and has an intelligence about it which is sadly lacking in many other ‘branded’ productions aimed at the under-tens. Getting theatre right for this age group is essential for the future of live performance.

The show is still touring at the following venues:

May 2011
 Rhodes Arts Complex, Bishops Stortford
07-08 The Capitol, Horsham
11-12 Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells
13-14 The Broadway Theatre, Peterborough
17-19 The Courtyard Theatre, Hereford
20-21 North Wales Theatre, Llandudno
24-25 New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth
28-29 Dorking Halls, Dorking
31 West Yorkshire Playhouse (The Quarry Theatre), Leeds

June 2011
01-04 West Yorkshire Playhouse (The Quarry Theatre), Leeds
08-11 Theatre Royal, Plymouth
16-18 The Swan Theatre, Wycombe
19-20 Buxton Opera House
24-26 The Rose, Kingston
27-29 The Orchard, Dartford

July – 01-02 Yeovil Octagon

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