For a small boy, fact is often stranger than fiction.
“Is the Gruffalo going to eat me Mummy? Or is he a puppet?” was Raffie’s first response to being told he was going to the theatre. “No, the Gruffalo doesn’t eat people.” “Are you sure?”
It’s fair to say that Raffie has mixed feelings about the Gruffalo. Although he loves films like Monsters Inc, he is rather wary of monsters in general. Despite reading the Gruffalo regularly, he often needs reminding me that the Gruffalo isn’t real, unlike crocodiles. There was even a time he used to cover him up, but thankfully this seems to have passed.
And his curiosity overcame his initial reservations, despite a small wobble at the show, and a brief “Can we go for a walk now?”, as the Tall Stories theatre company brought Julia Donaldson’s famed story off the page and onto the stage.
Told with humour, costume changes and song, the story of the little mouse who braves the deep dark wood is full of curious characters. And nuts.
Keeping a small boy on his seat (Daddy’s lap) for five minutes is something of a challenge so to keep him there for an hour is pretty much unheard of, clutching his new Gruffalo ‘sign’ and a look of deep concentration.
While the mouse went on its journey, Raffie and many other small children were mesmerised-a far cry from Raffie’s first trip to the theatre last year which lasted around three minutes.
As a reward for his very good behaviour we treated him to a post-show ice cream. He slowly covered his face and clothes in it while he cuddled his new Gruffalo toy and told us all about how it would be good to see a show with the Gruffalo’s Child.
On leaving the theatre he considered the Gruffalo posters with a keen eye. His newly cherished toy and sign were worth every penny. But to hear the words “I’m not scared of the Gruffalo anymore Mummy, I want to take him home,” is priceless.