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Posts Tagged ‘Julia Donaldson’

There are the old classics like The Enormous Turnip, Little Red Riding Hood, Gingerbread Man, and the children’s stories of that era. But there are some new classics that every child should read. To me, The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson definitely makes the list as a modern classic. It is such a fun read for both kids and parents – so important when your kid makes you read it again and again.

The latest to join in on the Gruffalo fun is Alyssa. She loves it! Sometimes she calls herself the Gruffalo, sometimes she says she’s the mouse and daddy is the Gruffalo. It’s so cute to see her show me her terrible teeth and her terrible claws.

I decided to bring her and Ellery to watch the Gruffalo that was showing at KidsFest2016. I had brought Asher for the show years ago when it first came to Singapore. It was fabulous! The stage production brought out new aspects of the book that I hadn’t thought of before. I think that is when drama is at it’s best because it should be insightful and give you more than you could have gleaned on your own. Anyway, a while later Forum the Shopping Mall brought in the Gruffalo as well and I had brought the boys to catch that, but Ellery was so young he really doesn’t remember watching it at all.

So off we went for this year’s production of Gruffalo.

The actors have changed, but the magic of the story is the same. And seeing the Gruffalo in person is always such a treat. He looks so squishy and huggable! And thankfully not scary, because I’ve heard of kids who are scared of the Gruffalo in the book. The cast was playful, and there were parts that were improvised and you could see the merriment in their eyes. It’s good when the cast enjoy themselves.

The Gruffalo, the Fox and the Little Brown Mouse

The Gruffalo, the Fox and the Little Brown Mouse*

The show largely follows the book, but they give the Fox, the Owl and the Snake some very interesting personas. My favourite is always the Snake. He is hilariously flamboyant and so full of himself. I love that the same actor plays all three predators because you can see how well the actor switches roles and gives each character a unique feel. It’s more than just a costume change!

Most of the kids know the book so well they were yelling out lines when the actors feigned ignorance. The favourite is of course the mouse’s line, “I’m going to have tea with a…a…”

“GRUFFAAALLLOOO!!” roar the children.

The Gruffalo has his snack...or does he?

The Gruffalo has his snack…or does he?*

 

Twit Twoo! Mr Owl in his treetop house

Twit Twoo! Owl in his treetop house*

Alyssa and Ellery definitely enjoyed the show, and we came back to more G-g-g-gruffalo at home!

There are many more interesting shows that are on at KidsFest2016. Check them out here!

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Disclaimer: This is an unsolicited review. We purchased our own tickets for the show.

*Photo credit: ABA Productions

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This is one of my favourite Julia Donaldson books.  It’s witty and catchy, and has a delightful ending.  It’s one of those books that I never tire of reading, which is saying a lot (hands up all those who have heard “Mummy, again!” and wanted to faint).  Knowing the boys like this book too, I went ahead to book tickets for this show and was quite eager to watch it.

KidsFest 2014 - What the Ladybird heard

The performance took an interesting turn at the start, with two of the actors saying they needed the help of some audience members to play the roles of Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len.  Of course the volunteers were planted, but it was quite amusing for the kids I think.

Of the various KidsFest performances we have seen over the years, this is one of my favourite.  I loved how there was so much music making in the show.  The actors themselves played various instruments live on stage, like the violin, flute, drums, etc.  There was also a creative element where the actors had ‘lost’ the animals and needed to make their own from whatever items they could find.  They made the hog from the wheelbarrow, a goose from a watering can, etc.  Asher and Ellery were quite inspired by this and spent the rest of the evening improvising this and that from whatever they could find.  I was really very happy to see that the show had an impact on them.

The best part is, there were many little songs and sound bites that the kids could remember.  There was a theme song from the show that linked with the words from the book, and was set to a catchy tune that the kids can remember.  After the show and even almost a month later, the boys can still remember the song!  Then there was a tune to call out the ladybird, and the sounds that Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len each make when their name is mentioned.

For a festival where tickets are usually very pricey, in my opintion, I think this show was well worth every cent!

A very blur photo of the set before the show started

A very blur photo of the set before the show started

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We watched the KidsFest performance of The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, performed by Tall Stories, when Asher was younger, and again at a free performance at the Forum Shopping Centre.  It was such a wonderful performance, full of humour, lively songs, and fun-filled moments.

I was a bit hesitant to get tickets for the follow-up show, The Gruffalo’s Child, because I thought the book was less interesting than the original.  But the kids were quite interested, and I thought that for completion’s sake we could watch it.   Also, other performances by Tall Stories was very good, so I thought this would be a similarly high-quality production.

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Unfortunately, I was left feeling very disappointed.  This follow-up production was nowhere near as good is the first, and nowhere near as entertaining.  I felt that didn’t develop the storyline as much as they did with The Gruffalo, and the portrayal of the aged characters of the owl, fox and snake were not brought across to full effect.  The set didn’t do much to help either.  It was quite spartan, and I think more could have been done to bring a frosty, wintry forest alive.  Perhaps they were trying to be minimalist about things, but just moving the bare tree trunks around didn’t do much to show that the scene had changed.

There were also no memorable songs or moments.  I don’t think the kids remember anything at all from the show, other than the main storyline, which they know from the book.

And it wasn’t just me who felt disappointed I think.  I could see the boys were fidgety and were losing interest as the show wore on.

I think I could have saved some money on this one.

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