Room on the Broom

Coventry Belgrade


So we find out that not all witches are bad, brooms can carry five, although why a bird that flies needs a lift on a flying broom is a mystery, but ours is not to reason why as Julia Donaldson’s popular tale is brought wonderfully to the stage by Tall Stories.

The production is aimed at children three and upwards which is a challenge as any parent or grandparent tasked with keeping three-year olds, and quite a few younger ones in the audience, amused for any length of time will know.

They ask questions, ooh and aah, point things out . . . and go to the toilet a lot, but the cast took it all in their stride and carried the tale and audience along with magic and aplomb.

We had audience participation bits with an impressive remembering of woosh, after quite a long gap, to help the witch’s broom take off, we had some singalong and clapping, all lapped up by an eager young audience, and with enough theatre to keep adult interest alive.

Amy Harris was a splendid witch, off to fight a dragon with her cat. She came over as more a rather eccentric aunt than anything sinister or spooky and the kids warmed to her immediately – they knew instinctively she was going to be fun.

She was matched by Emma Crowley-Bennett as the cat, who found her space on the broom being squeezed by every new traveller, starting with David Garrud as the dog, a rather fun puppet, and my grandson’s (aged six) favourite.

Garrud also popped up as the frog, a puppet who seemed to have leapt, with remarkably long legs, from some pond in Loiuisiana or Mississippi, y’all.


Then there was the anomaly, the bird, another puppet, flown by Connor Bloom, who had overslept and missed her flight, as in flock, south with the other birds.

Throw in a dragon that eats witches, Bloom again, and then a mud monster that frightens dragons – but that’s a secret you will have to buy a ticket to discover - and you have your goodies and baddies to add a bit of drama, along with a lost wand, lost hat, lost hair bow, and broken broom to add to the adventure.

Lighting and sound added to the story as did a collection of likably, simple songs and corny spells while the cast cleverly effected scene and prop changes from behind trees or a large moon – indeed a simple trick, merely darkness and music, to magic up a new shiny broom even got a round of applause.

Childrens’ theatre is perhaps the most important on any stage, anywhere, it holds the future of all theatre in its hands. Entertain and bring the magic of theatre to young minds and you just might sow the seeds of a theatregoer of the future – the next generation to keep Shakespeare or Miller, Wilde or Williams alive.

Did Tall Stories succeed? The proof of the pudding in this case is in the curtain call and the cheers and applause said it all. Directed by Olivia Jacobs there will be room on the broom until 26-07-17

Roger Clarke


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