“The Gruffalo said that no gruffalo should ever set foot in the deep dark wood.”
But on a not so wild and windy afternoon in Manchester, the Gruffalo’s Child ignored her father’s warning and tiptoed out into the snow to bring Julia Donaldson’s acclaimed book to life in magical fashion.
The story, which, like its predecessor The Gruffalo, has been brought to the stage by Tall Stories and is currently thrilling little ones - and many older ones - at The Lowry Theatre until September 4.
Songs, laughs and scary fun ensures for children aged three and up as the titular hero goes off in search for the Big Bad Mouse.
On route, the wide-eyed protagonist encounters a rather sassy dancing snake, a wheeler-dealer fox and a jocular owl before her twilight showdown with the mighty mouse.
The whole show is performed cleverly with just three cast members. Sophie Alice takes on the title role with wide-eyed innocence, while Catriona Mackenzie keeps the show moving as both the narrator and the mouse.
But it is the multi-talented Andrew Mudie who steals the show with comedic turns as the Gruffalo, snake, owl and fox.
It is a great show and at just under an hour it’s just the right length for the younger children, like my enthralled three-year-old. Fans of the book and newcomers alike will be enchanted.
There are two showings a day and afterwards there is plenty to do around the theatre to make a day of it.
We headed over to the Lowry’s canal-side Pier Eight Restaurant, where kids each free with every paying adult this summer. The kids menu includes starters of garlic bread, tomato soup, or salad and mains of sausages and mash, tomato pasta and fish fingers and chips. For dessert they can choose from yoghurt and apple slices, jam sponge and custard or ice cream.
My own Gruffalo’s Child chowed down on the garlic bread, fish fingers and ice cream, while I opted for smoky tomato soup served elegantly table-side over chorizo and creme fraiche, followed by trout, baby fennel, gnocchi and mussels in a watercress sauce for the main course.
Gruffalo’s Wife across the table went for chicken and roasted pepper terrine to start and roast chicken, dauphinnoise potatoes and baby leeks in a morell sauce for her main course. A classy meal for a day out with the kids, certainly.
Then we soaked up the atmosphere around the complex with a superhero workshop in the upstairs gallery before trying our hand our own Lowry masterpieces in the The Lookout, a dedicated space for children to test their drawing skills.
There is plenty going on for children young and old. Find out more or book tickets online at www.thelowry.com.
The Lowry, Salford
Tickets £15.50 - £52.00