Touring – reviewed at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre
Written by Rod Campbell, this is one of my son’s ultimate favourite books. It had to go everywhere with him when he was pre-toddler age and he knows it inside out now. The transition to the stage has been made smoothly and beautifully, with every great element of the book translated into a superb theatrical production.
The story is told by Ben, Sally and Sam the Zoo Keeper and they guide the young audience through the popular tale brilliantly. There is plenty of audience interaction and opportunities for the children to join in with songs, counting and to help regale the story.
In the various colourful crates, we see Ben receive a number of unsuitable pets from the Zoo following his letter to them, asking for a pet. There’s an elephant, he’s too big, a giraffe who’s too tall and a very naughty monkey. The animal characters are either portrayed by puppets or performed by members of the cast – every animal is engaging and they each have their own musical number too
This show is the perfect running time and there’s no interval so momentum isn’t lost. If you’re looking for a family trip to the theatre, this is one of the best. As a first visit to the theatre, it’s definitely ideal for all young ages.