‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ is a joy at Birmingham Town Hall

If you are looking for some fun, family entertainment for the remainder of the Christmas break, or to take you into January with a bang, then look no further than the festive family fare that is currently delighting younger audiences at Birmingham Town Hall. To put it quite simply ‘we’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a big one, what a beautiful day, we’re not scared…’Although actually, maybe we are, just a little.

630x44.fitwithoffsetWe’re going on a bear hunt is a children’s classic that celebrated 25 years since publishing in 2014. Written by Michael Rosen and with famous watercolour illustrations by Helen Oxenbury, the story of a family taking a trip through fields, water and snow to try to find an elusive bear has been delighting children of all ages for years, and now it is a delightful play that is perfect for younger audiences, particularly those who may not have seen a show live before.

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The actors create the roles beautifully, instantly recognisable to those who love the classic illustrations from the original book.  There are lively, fun songs that the audience are encouraged to join in with, along with scenes that are interactive, like when the splashing through the river sees the audience getting a splashing too (much to the delight of my niece who laughed long and loud when the water pistol was trained on Uncle Peter…). There are plenty of laughs throughout, especially from the muddy interlude, and then, of course, there’s the hero of the piece, the bear. He is cute and huge and literally every child in the Hall was totally enchanted – which is just the way it should be.

‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ lasts around 50 minutes in total, with no intervals, which makes it perfect for younger audiences. We took a 7 year old and a 2 year old and they both loved it.

We’re going on a bear hunt is at Birmingham Town Hall until Wednesday 13 January 2016

Click here for ticket information.

Fun and Laughter from The Three Little pigs in Birmingham

It started with an X Factor style intro, and ended with a good old singalong between the sworn enemies the pigs and the wolf, and it was total fun and laughter in between. I’m talking about the fun new reworking of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ that has been playing at Birmingham Town Hall this week, with a star turn by Birmingham’s own Simon Webbe.

630x38.fitwithoffsetWe all know the story, but it is fun seeing it bought to life by the an engaging and talented cast. The piggies show their charactors early on, Daniel Buckley is clever and kind, Leanne Jones is concerned with the environment, whilst Taofique Folarin is strong in spirit and body, but a little short on brain power (missing out 2 when counting to 3…). When their mother (Alison Jiear) tells them their sty is too small and they need to find new homes, the stage is set for a showdown with the Big Bad Wolf who made bacon of their daddy.

The songs are funny and the lyrics certainly need to be listened to carefully as they are so witty, but the musical really comes to life when Simon Webbe hits the stage. He is fabulous, super funny as the Big Bad Wolf in search of a porky barbecue. His song about being ‘just misunderstood’ is just hilarious, especially with a Strictly Come dancing style interlude that sees the wolf dancing a ‘foxtrot’ with one of his backing singers, who also just happens to be an owl. The leather jacket, the inhaler that gives him a touch of extra ‘puff’ for blowing down a house made of bricks, and all the choice lines (describing two of the pigs as a Double Whopper, and all three as an ‘all you can eat buffet) all this makes this wolf super memorable, and should make Simon an absolute shoe-in come panto season.

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The Three Little Pigs is a lovely retelling of a classic story that works so well on the stage. Highly recommended viewing for adults and children alike.