Room on the Broom
Musical storybook adaptation hits the right note
This article is from 2009.
The coming together of Tall Stories theatre company and children’s author Julia Donaldson has already proved itself to be a winning formula, with the hugely popular Gruffalo and Gruffalo’s Child. There’s no obvious route for taking Donaldson’s enjoyable but relatively short stories and elongating them for the stage, but Tall Stories always seem to find the most imaginative way possible.
The tale of a generous witch, who runs into trouble when she invites too many new friends onto her broomstick, Room on the Broom is arguably one of Donaldson’s finest storybooks. So it’s no surprise that the witchy tale has turned out to be Tall Stories’ finest hour to date too.
It’s also their most ambitious, forcing the company to upgrade venues to one of the Pleasance’s largest spaces. Not only does the stage have to incorporate a witch, her cat, a frog, dog, bird and dragon, but a large set and, to quote the script, a ‘truly magnificent broom’. Yet once again, the true secret to Tall Stories’ success lies with its talented team. All the factors come together: superb character actors, fantastically catchy songs, astute direction and some very cute puppets.
Donaldson’s words find their way into the script, enabling young audiences to hear the lines they know so well. But wrapped around them are witty one-liners, lively storytelling and a fleshing out of the characters that allows us to really get to know, and care about, them. A truly theatrical feast that leaves both adults and children fully entertained.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 19, 20), 2.30pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–£8.50).