Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts – With Julia Donaldson (4 stars)

This article is from 2015

Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts – With Julia Donaldson

Credit: Steve Ullathorne

Author Julia Donaldson brings some of her most famous stories to the Fringe

Continuing their long association with the creator of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson, Scamp Theatre (whose adaptation of Donaldson’s The Scarecrows’ Wedding is also at the Fringe this year) present a very different anthology of the prolific writer’s work. Performed in person by Donaldson with her husband Malcolm, sister Mary and actors Joanna Hutt and James Huntington, the stories are read and acted out with warmth and humour.

Donaldson is probably a better storyteller than a performer, but in her have-a-go attitude – and particularly that of Malcolm, a kind of eager comedy foil who seems unafraid of mucking in – the piece finds much of its heart. The moveable library around them proves versatile as a set, and the different tone and style of each story holds the interest of a full tent.

Jack and the Flumflum Tree and the animal-identifying What the Ladybird Heard are featured, as well as the cheery musical version (with Malcolm on guitar) of A Squash and a Squeeze and an interactive Zog which makes use of some great dragon costumes. The finale of The Gruffalo is the big hit, inevitably, with most children eagerly joining in with his tale.

Underbelly George Square, until 31 Aug (not 19), 11.30am, £10–£11 (£9–£10).

Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts – With Julia Donaldson

  • 4 stars

Julia & Malcolm Donaldson Britain's best-selling children's writer acts out her stories and songs with a cast of five, including guitar-playing husband Malcolm. This brand new show is followed by a daily book-signing.