Tall Stories to perform Julia Donaldson's The Snail and the Whale at Fringe 2012
Stage version of hugely successful children's book
This article is from 2012.
Julia Donaldson’s picture books take pride of place on bedroom shelves around the world. But it’s not until somebody picks them up and reads them, that those clever rhymes come alive.
Published in 2004, The Snail and the Whale has been one of Donaldson’s most successful books, and was recently named a favourite choice at Storybook Soldiers, an organisation that records members of the armed forces reading a bedtime story, then sends it to their children back home.
It was this discovery that helped Tall Stories (the theatre company behind the hugely popular Gruffalo show) come up with a framework for their latest production, in which a child uses the story to connect with her father on a naval ship.
‘The Snail and the Whale is about a small creature who is unusually adventurous, and ends up going round the world with a big creature,’ says Tall Stories’ co-director, Toby Mitchell. ‘And I think a child left at home would identify strongly with the snail’s desire to travel.’
As with all Tall Stories’ shows, The Snail and the Whale is replete with the kind of songs you find yourself singing in the kitchen a week later. ‘Music in general and catchy songs in particular are very important elements of our shows,’ says Mitchell. ‘They’re a really good way to add atmosphere, develop a character or move the plot on. And we love it when audience members come out of the shows humming the songs. During The Snail and the Whale, the audience gradually learns the main song, almost without noticing, and most of them end up singing along at the end.’
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 26 Aug, 3pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–£8.50). Previews until 3 Aug, £5.