Touring – reviewed at Epstein Theatre, Liverpool
You’d need a heart of stone not to be charmed by the gentle joys of Guess How Much I Love You. Sam McBratney’s modern classic bedtime story gets the theatrical treatment thanks to established touring company Selladoor, and the result is a real delight.
Harry Sever’s musical score is a constant highlight as young theatregoers see the original tale weaving through the follow-on collection of stories in this adaptation by director Anna Fox.
Our narrator is Mother Nature (Jessica Dives), all cute dungarees, pastel colours and welcoming smile. Gemma Higgins and Daniel Harkin are the Little and Big Nutbrown Hares, exploring the changing seasons and having fun together.
The set, based on the book’s illustrations (obviously), unveils a variety of hidden reveals as the year goes on, as flowers grow and so on – and while winter could have provided more of an interesting transformation there are plenty of nice touches throughout. It is well-paced for young audiences and doesn’t outstay its welcome.
The intimacy of the piece was a little lost on the Epstein stage though – the characters, Mother Nature in particular, seek to encourage audience participation at times, and it seemed it would be nice for children to sit around in the performance space to really see things up close.
Regardless, this production is as sweet and charming an introduction to theatre as you could wish for; for a warm and fuzzy bonding experience with the little person you bring along to the theatre, Guess How Much I Love You is hard to beat.