There can be few under fives who don’t know the Gruffalo - the mouse-made myth that stalks the pages of Julia Donaldson’s monster bestseller - so this production is a hot ticket for families. Jolly singalongs, visual gags and a licence to roar in raucous fashion sets the seal on this successful comedy for everyone over three.
The musical show’s main strength, given the understated staging reliant on a couple of moveable tree trunks and multicoloured backlighting, is its mischievous cast of three. The winsomely dimpled Naomi Said as the mouse that dared turns in a twitchy performance - all trembly when the predators are on her tail, yet bouncy and expansive when urging her audience to roar like a Gruffalo. Napoleon Ryan and Alan Park share storyteller duties when not in costume as would-be mouse munchers. With room for comic asides, pratfalls and spontaneous banter between the highly-amplified but catchy numbers composed for each of the woodland creatures (Ryan’s samba-inspired snake song is a corker), this is a cheery crowd-pleaser. Recently voted Top Bedtime Story in a BBC Radio 2 poll, The Gruffalo is a safe bet for the first-time theatregoer - with most of the audience happily chorusing Donaldson’s best lines, it’s a case of familiarity breeding content.