Tag Archives: Theatre Reviews

Fantastically Great Women who Changed the World

Fantastically Great Women who Changed the World – February 2024

Who? Kenny Wax Family Entertainment in association with MAST Mayflower Studios

What? Fantastically Great Women who Changed the World

Where? Chichester Festival Theatre

When? 14-18 February 2024

What the show is about? The show is about a girl called Jade who gets lost on a school trip and ends up in an off limits part of the museum. Whilst there, she meets some of the women who changed the world in wonderfully different ways.

Jade usually always does the right thing and usually gets the feeling that she is invisible. The women she meets throughout the play inspire to be braver and take more chances her by telling her their own incredible stories.

The women she meets include: Frida Kahlo, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earheart, Marie Curie, Emmeline Pankhurst and many more motivational women who you may have heard of.

What was really good about it? I liked the songs and the dancing especially ‘Quiet Children’ because the chorus sounded quite good. Another good one was ‘ Where do you wanna go?’ because the harmonies sounded brilliant. Also ‘ Deeds not Words’ sounded good because the lyrics talk about the hurdles the women had to jump over to get the vote. I also enjoyed ‘World of Colour’ because they talk about having ‘wings to fly’ and ‘painting outside the lines’ which basically means breaking some of the rules at the time and just having fun.

I really liked that we could see the band above the stage during the show. There were 3 of them who played a variety of keyboards and percussion instruments and one of them came down to join the actors for one song when they did a drum solo.

What could be better? Maybe an interval to have an ice cream in but it was a 1hr 15mins performance so that is ok and anyway afterwards I had ice cream for the dessert after my meal at the Bell Inn to top off a very nice fish fingers and chips.

I can’t think of much but my sister suggested the sound could have been better because at the beginning of the show she couldn’t hear what the actor were singing properly. I only had this problem for a couple of minutes but after that it was fine.

What my Dad thinks? It’s the second time we’ve seen this show and I think it’s got a bit better in the last two years. The whole thing was just that bit tighter, the asides that bit funnier, the songs that bit more impactful and just generally a better show. That said, I couldn’t pin point anything in particular that was different, but it just was, okay? We sat slightly to the side this time and it’s clear show is designed to be played on a proscenium arch stage and it would have probably been a better experience both visually and in terms of the sound quality. A thoroughly enjoyable show though and a really inspiring one to take the children to.

Star Rating? 5 Stars!

Life of Pi

Life of Pi – December 2023

Who? Simon Friend Entertainment

What? Life of Pi

Where? Chichester Festival Theatre

When? November 16 – December 2

What’s the show about? The show is about a girl called Pi and it is her recount of the ship, the Tsimtsum, sinking along with the rest of Pi’s family and how she survived.

She starts the recount by setting the scene in an Indian zoo, where she lived. The government had had a few arguments with one another and India became a dangerous place to live. There is also a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, who is new to the zoo and he eats a goat, who does nothing to her, and this makes Pi annoyed.

The family decide to move to Canada as India has become too dangerous. They do this by boat. On the boat they had put the zoo animals in container ship crates. The ship’s cook is quite the butcher. Pi turns down the offer of food as she and her family are vegetarians. They then meet the friendly sailor, who is also Indian.

The ship sinks in a storm and everyone, except for her, drowns and goes down with the boat. She then finds a lifeboat with an injured zebra lying on the deck. The Bengal tiger, Richard Parker, also finds the boat and is hungry. The hyena, from the zoo, is on the boat as well, and is also looking for a meal. It’s a very dangerous place for any child to be. The hyena eats the zebra and after a few days, Richard Parker eats the hyena.

She is telling this story to the Canadian and Japanese government’s officials in her hospital room after being saved after 229 days at sea after the ship sunk. Back to the recount…

For the next few weeks, it is just Pi and Richard Parker. One day, when Pi cannot see anything because she was hallucinating through lack of fresh water, she thought that Richard Parker was talking to her in a French accent. This was my sister’s favourite part of the show and probably mine too because it was funny.

The government representatives don’t believe her and they ask her to tell them the real story with the proper facts and so she does.

In this version the ship also sinks and Pi’s dad and brother both drown. She also finds a lifeboat but this time the cook from the ship and the Indian sailor are on the boat as well. Then her mum comes across the boat and joins them. The Indian sailor’s leg is broken and Pi’s mum is the best doctor she can be to him until the cook suggests amputating the leg. He amputates it himself using his butcher’s knife. After a few weeks, the cook kills Pi’s mum. Pi then gets so angry at the cook that she also ends up killing him as well. It’s all pretty gruesome and very sad.

This time, the government representatives believe the story more than they did the first recount Pi told them. Pi asks if it matters which story was true because they both involve her losing her family, the ship sinking and all of the crew and animals dying. They agree it doesn’t really matter, but that the one with animals is the better story.

What was really good about it? The set looked really good with the lifeboat being on set most of the time. The hospital room/bed looks good also. The projections on the stage looked like the water was real and when the characters touched it, the water actually rippled. There were also sea creatures along the stage, or at least it looked like that anyway. The storm also looked menacingly good.

The puppets were very nicely done. The main puppet was Richard Parker but other puppets, like the hyena, needed more than one puppeteer. Another puppet was the turtle. All of the acting was good and I enjoyed watching the show.

What could be better? It was a bit too gory for me to give it 5 stars. I know it had to be in there because that’s what’s in the book but I didn’t really enjoy those bits.

What my Dad thinks… This was so good. I didn’t know the story beforehand as I’ve never seen the film or read the book, but I adored it. There are some quite dark and graphic moments, so it’s not suitable for younger children really, but my 8 year old thoroughly enjoyed it. I wouldn’t have thought children younger than that should see it, really, but we were careful to explain what to expect to both of the children and that some of the animals die in the story, so it will have sad moments.

The puppetry (and acting generally) was fantastic. The staging, including excellent projections, was really cleverly done. The reoccurring theme of religion is handled really well and it made for an excellent conversation starter with the kids. For me, the plot turned into a modern day parable that hits really hard was the bit that will stay with me. As humans we often find it more palatable to use animals in stories in place of the humans to explain some of the more extreme behaviours. Overall, it was simply brilliant. The national tour continues into 2024, so go and see it if you can.

Star Rating… 4 Stars

The Lion King

The Lion King – August 2023


What? – The Lion King

Where? The Lyceum Theatre, London

When? – Since 1999

What’s the show about? The show is about a lion cub called Simba who is next in line to become king, the king being his father, Mufasa.

Scar, Mufasa’s brother and Simba’s uncle, is the bad guy and he tells young Simba about the Elephant Graveyard to try and tempt him to go there. When he goes there with Zazu, Mufasa’s trusty African red-billed hornbill assistant and Nala, Simba’s best friend, they meet Scar’s evil sidekicks, the hyenas. They close in on Simba and Nala and Zazu can’t do anything to help them but luckily they are then saved by Mufasa. He then teaches Simba about the mighty kings of the past, and that they are watching him from the stars above and so when he’s alone the kings will be there for him.

At a stampede of wildebeest, Scar sets a trap for Mufasa’s death and puts Simba in the middle of it. Mufasa saves Simba, but couldn’t save himself, as Scar shoves him away into the middle of the stampede where he falls to his death.

Simba is told by Scar to run away and never return and Simba obeyed, so Scar claims the crown of the Pride Lands. Scar claims that it was Simba who killed Mufasa and that Simba is dead.

Simba runs away and finds a meerkat and a warthog, Timon and Pumbaa, and they teach him Hakuna Matata which means take it easy. Over the many, many years they spend together they become a good trio.

Meanwhile, back in the Pride Lands, there is no food left because Scar has made it a barren and lonely piece of land. Nala eventually also leaves and then comes across Simba in the jungle. At first, they don’t recognise each other, but once they do, Nala tells Simba all about what has happened in the Pride Lands and that Scar is king. Simba still doesn’t yet decide that it’s time to leave Timon and Pumbaa, but after a talking-to from Rafiki, he goes back to challenge Scar to take the crown back as he is the rightful heir to the crown.

He completes his mission and becomes king with Nala as his queen.

What was really good about it? I enjoyed the songs and the performances to go with them. I especially enjoyed I Just Can’t Wait To Be King and Hakuna Matata. The puppets were also really impressive and there were loads of them, including; lions, Zazu, Timon & Pumbaa as a duo were great, the giraffes, the hyenas & elephants as well.

I Just Can’t Wait To Be King included Zazu and a few giraffes. Some of the characters came right down the aisle beside us which was quite cool.

The stampede of the wildebeest was impressive and it looked like the wildebeest were literally stampeding.

Scar, played by George Asprey, was an impressive bad guy. He came across as a really scary and cunning character.

The hyenas are funny, especially Ed, whose puppeteer is called Mark Tatham. Ed just sticks his tongue out and laughs a lot which made me laugh a lot too.

Timon (Jamie McGregor) and Pumbaa (Mark Roper) were probably my favourite characters because they were funny but also really kind to Simba when he needed a friend.

This was my first show in London and it was great to go to the West End and we got to see Covent Garden before the show. There was a juggler performing and he was really good. The Lyceum is a big, old theatre and I enjoyed sitting in the stalls.

What could be better?  I think it was quite hot in the theatre, but that meant that we needed an ice cream at the interval, so that was okay. I had a strawberry one and my sister had a salted caramel one which she didn’t like. According to her, the salted caramel ones in Chichester are much better.

What my mum thinks? I really enjoyed seeing this for the first time with the family – its been on the list for a while! The opening was epic and I loved seeing the animals walk past and onto the stage. Visually impressive with epic singing and costumes/puppetry. Great for the kids and I loved it too. Also big shout out to the staff who were super helpful and friendly.

Star Rating –  🧡💛💚💙

This is the theatre before the show.
Us before the show.
Me and my sister after the show.
Me as we got into our seats before the show.
Me and my sister doing our best lion impressions.

The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music – August 2023

Who? – Chichester Festival Theatre

What? – The Sound of Music

Where?  Chichester Festival Theatre

When? – 10 July – 3 Sep 2023

What’s the show about? The show is about a young nun called Maria who is sent by Mother Abbess on “God’s errand” to become a governess to the seven von Trapp children. As soon as Maria arrives in the house she is welcomed in by Frau Schmidt, Captain von Trapp’s housekeeper, and after only a matter of few seconds Captain von Trapp enters and greets Maria.

The Captain brandishes a golden whistle and uses it to command the children to march down the stairs and into a straight line. However, only six arrive on time and around ten seconds later the seventh child enters the room, engrossed in a book and Captain von Trapp snaps it shut and she runs to join her siblings. Captain von Trapp tells Maria that they each have a whistle signal in case Maria needed them.

He tells Maria to listen carefully and then instructs the children to step forward and step back once they have said their name. The order is oldest to youngest, like this: Liesl (16), Friedrich (14), Louisa (13), Kurt (11), Brigitta (10), Marta (7) and then Gretel (5).

Captain von Trapp goes to Vienna for a visit to Frau Schraeder and his friend Max. He ends up being engaged to Frau Schraeder and nearly getting married. Meanwhile, Maria had taught the children how to sing (starting with the unforgettable Do, Rey, Mi) so that when the children meet Frau Schraeder for the first time, they sing to her. Afterwards, Captain Von Trapp sings Edelweiss to the children.

They then have a party where Maria feels as if she is falling in love with Captain von Trapp and, because she feels like that is unprofessional, she leaves to go back to the abbey. After having a talking to from Mother Abbess she decides to face the problem rather than hide from it, and so she goes back.

Once Maria takes her job up again she finds out about the engagement between Captain von Trapp and Frau Schraeder. However, the Captain and Frau Schraeder have an argument and the engagement is called off.

Then in a scene where Maria and Captain von Trapp are alone together, they find out that they both love each other so they get married and go on their honeymoon. When they return the Nazis have taken over Austria and the Captain is expected to join their navy and fight for them. He doesn’t want to do that, so they make a plan to sing at the Salzburg Music Festival and then flee the country. It’s sad that they had to leave, but good that they could stay together as a family.

What was really good about it? I enjoyed every song and the way it was performed. I was told that the singing was quieter and the lights were brighter because we went to the relaxed performance, I didn’t actually think the singing was quiet because it still sounded good to me.

Just, on the whole, it was an amazing show to see. If you don’t go to see this show you will regret it.

Gina Beck as Maria was incredible, especially her singing. She was just like Julie Andrews in the film.

Ed Harrison plays Captain von Trapp really well. I liked him because he sticks to his morals throughout but changes from being a stern father to a nicer, more loving one.

I really liked Max’s character because he was funny because he always wanted to be around rich people and was always trying to get his own way by getting performers for his show. Ako Mitchell was great as Max.

I got a salted caramel ice cream at the interval. It tasted so, so nice.

I was lucky enough to meet some of the cast after the show and they were all really friendly. There was Ed Harrison who plays Captain von Trapp, Ako Mitchell who plays Max and Rebecca Ridout who plays one of the Nuns. You can see me with them in the photos below.

What could be better?  I think the only problem was that, in my opinion, there was slightly too much kissing and that is not one of my favourite things.

I didn’t really like all of the Nazi symbols and soldiers because they were a bit scary, but it did give us a good understanding of what it would have been like for them.

What my dad thinks? I’m not ashamed to say I got a bit misty-eyed at this one. The first act is all warm nostalgia brilliantly executed but the second act hits a whole other level of powerful poignancy.

All of the singing was fantastic, but the harmonies created by the Nuns particularly blew me away.

The performance we went to was a relaxed performance and I must give enormous credit to the cast of SoM and the staff at CFT who did a great job. They really considered everyone’s needs and made it an enjoyable experience for all. Inclusion really does matter and they did a great job of making everyone welcome.

Star Rating –  🧡💛💚💙💜

Me with Ed Harrison, Ako Mitchell and Rebecca Ridout from the Sound of Music cast
Ed Harrison plays Captain von Trapp in the Sound of Music
Ako Mitchell plays Max in the Sound of Music at CFT
Rebecca Ridout was one of the nuns in the Sound of Music
The Sound of Music is on at CFT until 3 September

Mother Goose

Mother Goose – February 2023

Who? – Ambassador Theatre Group

What? – Mother Goose

Where?  Chichester Festival Theatre

When? – 7 – 11 February 2023

What’s the show about? The show is about a mother called Caroline Goose, her husband Vic and son Jack, who all look after a group of animals including a cricket, a tortoise and a cat.

Then Cilla Quack come along – she’s a goose from Gooseland. She finds her way into the family and she helps them with paying the bills by laying golden eggs. The golden eggs help to pay off the evil energy company and all is going to plan.

However, Mother Goose gets tempted into a life of fame and fortune by Malignia in return for Cilla who is sent back to Gooseland.

Caroline Goose gets everything she ever wanted, but leaves her family and friends behind. Eventually she realises her mistake and tries to right her wrongs. This means she has to go on a mission to Gooseland to save Cilla and win back her family and friends.

What was really good about it? I enjoyed lots of it. The bit that I liked the most was the songs and the way that they were performed. I knew a few of the songs because they were famous songs that just had some of the words changed.

I also enjoyed the funny parts and laughed a lot but then again it’s a panto so I kind of expected some laughs. There were some parts that I didn’t understand but my dad laughed at which I didn’t understand as well. Interval meant ice cream! Yippee!

It was nice that it started at 5pm rather than 7:30pm, so when we got home I wasn’t too tired.

What could be better?  I think that there wasn’t much I didn’t enjoy or think that could be better.

What my dad thinks? Mother Goose is packed full of laughs for everyone. Quite a few were more for the adults but they sailed merrily over the heads of our children, so we all had a great time. The singing, particularly from a few of the ensemble, was very impressive. It was a privilege to see Sir Ian McKellen on stage again, and I hope he didn’t hurt himself too much when he took a tumble.

Star Rating –  🧡💛💚💙💜

Me and my sister after the show


Pinocchio – December 2022

Who? – Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company

What? – Pinocchio

Where? The Drum – Theatre Royal Plymouth

When? – 24 November 2022 – 14 January 2023

What’s the show about? The story of Pinoccio was told with actors and puppets. This show is about a family who, through a bedtime story, recreate the story of the father’s childhood. Throughout his life, he turns from a wooden puppet to a real boy, which was his childhood dream.

It was the first show I’d seen in Plymouth. It was a nice, big theatre but we were in The Drum which is the smaller one. There was still plenty of space.

What was really good about it? As with Stick Man about a year ago now, the reuse of the table, chairs, wardrobe and the rest of the props and the fact that only three actors played all of the parts was indescribable and inspiring.

I really liked that there were 3 different generations of the same family and I really enjoyed the grandfather when he kept playing the accordion.

It was really funny when they told lies because their noses grew. When they told really big lies the nose grew a lot and when they told silly little lies, the nose just grew a bit. The funny, silly lies were like, ‘the sky is green’ and ‘I’ve had dinner with an elephant.’

What could be better?  I think that it was sometimes hard to tell what tense they were performing in seeing as they switched through them so quickly. I found that a little bit confusing.

What my cousins thinks? 

The musical aspects that ran through the entire performance brought the narrative and storyline to life. It was understandable, fun to watch and join in with, and the energy that came across was infectious. Molly (age 17 and three quarters)

It was really good. Pinocchio was really fun watching. I was excited to watch Pinocchio because Auntie Jess told me about it. I was really wanting to watch Pinocchio’s nose grow. It was phenomenally funny. Annie (age 6 and three quarters)

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤

Outside Theatre Royal Plymouth before the show

Wind in the Willows

Wind in the Willows – December 2022

Who? – Chichester Festival Youth Theatre

What? – Wind in the Willows

Where? – Chichester Festival Theatre

When? – 17–31 December

It’s now been a year since I started writing reviews and I’m back at Chichester Festival Theatre for another one of their Christmas shows. You can find all of my other reviews here.

What’s the show about? Based on the Kenneth Grahame book bythe same name, Wind in the Willows is a show performed by the children of Chichester Festival Youth Theatre.

The story is set near a river and is about a mole and a rat who instantly become friends. Ratty takes Moley on his rowing boat on the river and teaches her all about the wild wood, the other animals and just the world in general.

One particular animal Moley was told about was Toad. Toad is funny and silly and gets into a bit too much trouble. The story is all about Toad’s crazy adventures and how his friends try and help him. Together, his friends help save Toad and Toad Hall (Toad’s home,) from the evil weasels.

Ratty is sensible and clever, Mole is inquisitive and kind and Badger is wise and friendly.

What was really good about it? I really enjoyed the duck song because the costumes were clever, the dancing was good and the song was catchy.

The boat, car and barge were cleverly made out of recycled materials. The barge was a Sprite bottle, the rowing boat a sardine tin and the car was an old bottle.

I liked all the characters but Toad was probably my favourite considering how funny he was.

Before the show, we went for dinner at my favourite Chichester pub, The Bell Inn. I had fish fingers, a sausage, a chicken nugget, broccoli, carrots and maybe a small squirt of tomato ketchup. It was perfect.

What could be better? I think more songs would be better as I really liked all of them.

This time I did get an ice cream at the interval, though. Yippee!

What my dad thinks? On more than one occasion I forgot that I was watching a youth theatre performance. The whole thing was just so well put together. I particularly enjoyed the ensemble singing.

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤

SIX the musical

SIX – November 2022

Who? – A Kenny Wax, Global Musicians and Lucy Moss production

What?Six the Musical

Where? Chichester Festival Theatre

When? – 22–27 November

What’s the show about? This show is about the six queens under the reign of Henry VIII. It’s more of a concert. Each song tells the story of each queen’s life with the king. The musical is basically a competition for who had the worst life as queen. Eventually, they decide they are all special in their own way.

What was really good about it? I really enjoyed the format of how there was 1 group song, then each queen got to tell their life story as queen through performance, then a big finale. I also liked the dancing with the music, I think they had to practice extremely hard, considering the level of perfection. In fact, I think I loved it all. I didn’t want the show to stop.

What could be better? I’m not sure if there was anything wrong. Maybe that there was no interval meaning no ice cream but that was because of how short it was.

What my dad thinks? It was great. It’s the second time I’ve seen the tour show and I loved it on both occasions. The soundtrack is brilliant and performed impeccably by the musicians and actors. Also, the show has a great message and is packed with historical content.

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤❤

The Famous Five: A New Musical

The Famous Five: A New Musical – October 2022

Who? A co-production between Chichester Festival Theatre and Theatr Clwyd

What? The Famous Five: A New Musical

Where? Chichester Festival Theatre

When? 21st October – 12th November 2022

What’s the show about? 3 children (Julian, Dick and Anne) go to stay with their cousin (George) for the summer. After George falls out with her dad, the four of them and their dog (Timmy) decide to run away and go on an adventure. Unfortunately, George and Timmy got kidnapped and the others had to come to the rescue.

What was really good about it? The music was great. I really liked all of the songs and the way they were performed. They tell the story by acting out the song instead of dancing and it’s really clever.

I also enjoyed the funny bits of the show. Bobby was particularly funny and had loads of jobs. It was a bit like Miss Rabbit from Peppa Pig. I wasn’t sure how he had the time to do every job! He also (weirdly) wore lots of hats. I wasn’t sure where I would store them all.

My favourite characters were Dick and George. Dick because he kept talking about food and I felt I was agreeing with him most of the time. George was great because she was so brave and courageous and always looked for adventures.

There were some amazing puppets in the show. There was a puppet for the dog (Timmy) for the whole body. I wasn’t sure where the treats went once someone had given him one though. There was a puppet for a sheep, that was very funny, it could even make noises, like baa. I also liked the birds (puppets as well) flying around and through the air and the seal puppet made everyone laugh.

Before the show, we had an afternoon tea at the Brasserie, I especially enjoyed the blue candyfloss. My sister’s favourite thing was the blue candyfloss as well (see pictures below).

What could be better? We had a massive afternoon tea before the show, so we didn’t get an ice cream at the interval. Disappointing. Otherwise, it was a good show.

What my dad thinks? “The kids loved it. The songs were great (especially Jump, Fly, Fall) and there was a lot of humour in the show. The character of Bobby offered a lot of the laughs with some genuinely funny lines, but I didn’t really get why this otherwise likeable, happy character decided to become the evil sidekick to the villain.”

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤❤

The Rascally Diner


Who? LAS Theatre

What? The Rascally Diner

Where? Oaklands Park – Outside Chichester Festival Theatre

When? 16th July 2022

What’s the show about? The Rascally Diner is based on the book The Rascally Cake by Jeanne Willis and Korky Paul. It’s about a disgusting chef who makes a grotesque cake out of ingredients including snot and a cow pat. He tells everyone to eat disgusting things. They think the cake is evil and trying to eat Rufus Skumskins O’Parsley (the chef) so we helped them look out for the cake by doing the Cake Check. In the end though, the cake was quite nice and wanted to help Rufus Skumskins O’Parsley to cook nicer, healthier food.

What was really good about it? I really thought that the show was extremely funny and that I would definitely never want or try to eat those disgusting things even once.

It was really clever the way the set was designed because the cake sprouted out of it all over the place.

My favourite bit was when we got to join in with the Cake Check and bang our pans together. I also liked it when the big cake came out and scared Rufus Skumskins O’Parsley.

What could be better? My sister went up to the front in the show and it would have been better if they made her really eat some of the food made from rats!

What my dad thinks? “The Rascally Diner is a joyous bit of silly nonsense, packed with gross jokes about the most disgusting foods you could possibly imagine. There was a good amount of audience participation as well, which kept the children engaged and active.”

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤