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Review: The Gruffalo, The Sage Gateshead

IT may have its origins in a Chinese folk tale but Robbie Coltrane has cast a Scottish spell over The Gruffalo in the animated TV adaptation.

IT may have its origins in a Chinese folk tale but Robbie Coltrane has cast a Scottish spell over The Gruffalo in the animated TV adaptation.

So much so that, when I read the Julia Donaldson modern classic to my children, I do a poor mimicry of the Scot’s inflections for the Gruffalo’s speech.

The BBC version of Julia Donaldson’s and Axel Scheffler’s book, and of sequel The Gruffalo’s Child, are regular digibox requests in my house and, when I look around, they are not the only addition.

Julia’s and Axel’s creations are an intrinsic part of my children’s lives and none more so than The Gruffalo. We’ve got the books, the pop-up theatre, the crockery, the slippers – and that’s only a slim cache of the merchandise available.

And does anyone not have a picture of their kids with the life-size Gruffalo at Seven Stories?

So in the year of this purple-prickled monster, the Sage’s Gruffalo staging was a suitable alternative to the venue’s highly popular The Snowman.

In the first year of this event, the two films were shown on a big screen accompanied by part of the Northern Sinfonia, conducted by Terry Davies, playing composer René Aubry’s scores.

This was a gentle introduction to a concert hall and an orchestra, neither of which my five-year-old and three-year-old had seen before. I’m sure it made the kids more aware of the importance of the music, especially in the dramatic moments, which were particularly powerful in Hall One. And it was fun. The hall was relaxed and noisy with chatter and my daughter commented that “the best thing about it was when everyone laughed”.

 

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