Guaranteed to charm the tots

At the hop: Lucy finds the birds as Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare start the hopping song

Guess How Much I love you

Wolverhampton Grand

****

THIS is a show aimed at young children and on the basis that the audience joined in when asked - some needed no asking to be honest - jumped, danced and sang when required, cheered at the end it and left excited with eyes a-sparkle it seemed to have worked.

After all it is the youngsters who are the critical judges of this one and they loved it as Lucy (Emily Altneu) and big Nutbrown hare (Paul Sockett) and little Nutbrown hare (Abbey Norman) took us through the four seasons ending with winter and then bedtime.

Based on the books by Sam McBratney, adapted and directed by David Wood this is a fine introduction to the theatre for youngsters and there was real magic and wonder on their faces when the old snow machine was cranked up to give us a blizzard for winter.

The special effects are not exactly Avatar - birds and bees on wires (not linked or in the same scene in case you were worried - it's not that kind of show, madam!) but young children don't want to see how clever the SFX people have been, they just want to explore the world they find themselves in. It is a world where every day brings new sights, sounds and experiences that are real and this show is part of that learning process, of growing up.

This is a show which exudes charm. It is about simple story telling, simple games and joining in.

Lucy (Emily Altneu) wrapped up warm as winter arrives with a blizzard

To tots a painted tree is a tree while a giant tadpole wriggling on a stick is just that - part of a story about how they change into frogs,  how eggs contain birds  or how caterpillars become butterflies.

The show is aimed at the under fives although there were several children there who were a couple of years older and I imagine that for children familiar with the multi-million selling picture books seeing the characters on stage is a sort  of magic in itself.

The show keeps children interest - no mean feat - and involved having to shout out items which are red, or yellow, green or blue to playing statutes and hide and seek and we even had dancing in the aisles.

Get it wrong and a childrens' audience will soon let you know - bored, unhappy children are not a pretty sight. Get it right though and a childrens' audience can be wonderful, and at this show they were a delight. Performances at 1.30pm and 4pm until Wednesday 04-08-10

Roger Clarke 

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