I would like to share with you what a great day out I have had today with my Four year old. The reason I am so over the moon is that this is the first theatre production that she has sat all the way through. My mind casts back to nine months ago when I decided to take her to a performance of Frozen (the film with a live orchestra playing alongside) at The Royal Albert Hall. The day ended with me head in hands and a very large glass of wine, vowing to myself that I would never do anything like that again with her.
Looking back now perhaps I was expecting way too much from my three-year old at the time. Yes of course she would sit at home and happily watch the whole of Frozen, but add in travelling to central London, sitting in such a large venue such as the Royal Albert Hall, plus the distraction of other children. Especially the little girl in front of us, who Amelia decided to get into a full-scale argument about who was wearing the best Elsa costume!
I decided on The Gruffalo Live at the Lyric Theatre because the show lasts only 55 minutes and there is no interval. Amelia has always loved many of the Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler books, so being familiar with the story should also hold her attention.
The costumes and the scenery/effects were basic, but in a way I think this leads to the charm of this performance. I have been to other children’s theatre and sometimes I think there is way too much going on, which can distract children from the essence of the story. There were only four actors playing the various different roles and all of them put in lots of energy and enthusiasm throughout the performance.
I really liked the fact that audience participation was encouraged. The children really felt that they were involved in this piece of theatre, shouting out, repeating phrases and the Gruffalo even came down into to the audience which many of the children loved. There was also a very relaxed feel, so it didn’t mater that if your child was talking or being a bit loud!
Over all I would give this show 10/10, it really was great fun and every time I turned round to look at Amelia she was either laughing or had a big smile on her face. The company that performs The Gruffalo Live are Tall Stories , so have a look at their website for clips of the show and to see other shows they are performing.
After we left the theatre I decided this would be an excellent opportuntiy to introduce Amelia to Europe’s largest bookshop Waterstones Piccadilly . It really is the most amazing place, I could literally spend the whole day there. Housed in the most wonderful Art Deco building that was once Simpson’s Department store it has six floors of books, including a bar and cafe.
The children’s book department which covers almost the whole of the second floor is my childhood dream. Any children’s book you can imagine is here, plus a great range of toys and activities. What I really like about it is that there are plenty of place for children to just sit and read a book (as you can see Amelia made herself comfortable on a bean bag). Also there are tables that children can sit and colour and there was even a dressing up box where Amelia managed to find a lovely princess outfit.
So this was my day and it has re-kindled my spirit to make sure that Amelia and I enjoy all that is available in London just on our doorstep. Also I made the wise decision to come home around 1pm. I was tempted to stay out longer with Amelia, but from experience I know how tiring it is for her. So it was the perfect day!