Dinosaur Zoo

Dinosaur Zoo

A couple of weeks ago, my family and I went to see Dinosaur Zoo live at the Rose Theatre Kingston. Long-term readers will know that Dubz has been obsessed with dinosaurs for years. He even went through a stage where he would only wear dinosaur tops and dinosaur socks. I had heard of the Dinosaur Zoo live show, but I was worried that Dubz was just too fidgety to sit for an entire show (even though it’s only 50 minutes long). But now that Dubz is four, I thought it would be the perfect time to go.

If you’re not familiar with Dinosaur Zoo, it is a show which uses dinosaur puppets of various sizes. Not only do we learn facts about dinosaur, but children and adults are invited onto the stage to interact with the dinosaurs. There is also a meet-and-greet after the show with the baby dinosaurs and the T-Rex, which means that your child won’t feel left out if they don’t make it on stage during the show.

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Mr Popper’s Penguins Live

Mr Popper's Penguins

Last weekend I took the kids to watch Mr Popper’s Penguins at The Rose Theatre Kingston. My in-laws had been babysitting the previous day so I invited them along and we made it into a family day out. I am always so proud to take guests to the Rose Theatre. It is a lovely theatre with great productions. Kingston is so lucky to have such a gem.

The live show of Mr Popper’s Penguins is based on a novel (I haven’t seen the film so not sure if it is based on the same novel – I assume so). Mr Popper is a painter/decorator who has a nice but boring life. He dreams of exploring Antarctica and seeing polar bears and penguins. Then one day a real-life penguin arrives at his door. We see how his and Mrs Popper’s lives change as they start taking care of a penguin (and then many penguins). So, there weren’t real penguins. But puppet penguins controlled by the actors. Still cute, and probably more easily controlled than real penguins. Probably.

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A Christmas Carol at the Rose Theatre

A Rose Theatre Kingston Production of A Christmas Carol By Charles Dickens Adapted and directed by Ciaran McConville Cast Martin Ball Elisa Boyd Tomm Coles Bob Cratchit Paul Hawkyard Anthony Hunt Anne-Marie Piazza Jon Trenchard

A Christmas Carol is one of my favourite Christmas stories. It is about more than just being kind and showing compassion to others, it addresses the importance of giving to those less fortunate than us (an important subject for its author Charles Dickens). It is a beautiful, heart-warming story of redemption and charity. And if it is done correctly, it makes me cry. Last Friday, I was moved to tears watching A Christmas Carol at The Rose Theatre Kingston.

Anthony Hunt Jacob Marley A Christmas Carol at The Rose Theatre. Photo by Mark Douet. C31B1105I’m not going to go into the story. If you don’t know what it’s about, then you have real problems you need to sort out. Ciaran McConville adapted and directed this production. And it is simply beautiful. The acting is superb. Martin Ball is the perfect Scrooge. I throughly enjoyed Paul Hawkyard as the Ghost of Christmas Present (and Fezziwig and Charity Gent). And the Rose Youth Group are outstanding. The show cleverly uses music, lighting and projections to make you feel like you are right there in a dream with Scrooge on his life-changing journey.

A Christmas Carol at the Rose TheatreI went to A Christmas Carol with a friend and our two daughters (who are also friends). We all enjoyed the show, though my daughter did get scared when she saw the ghost of Jacob Marley. Moozles was fine after some reassurance and hand-holding. But I think most children seven and older would be fine to watch this play.

We count ourselves very lucky to live in close proximity to the Rose Theatre Kingston and to be able to watch family shows there quite often. The Rose puts on top-notch shows that you would expect to see in the West End (some do go on there, and some West End shows come here). The theatre itself is based upon the original Elizabethan Rose Theatre, with circular seating and an open/thrust stage to make every show feel intimate.

A Christmas Carol runs at the Rose Theatre Kingston until the 3rd January 2016. Don’t be a scrooge and book your tickets before it is sold out. You won’t regret it.

A Christmas Carol at The Rose Theatre. Photo by Mark Douet. I80A6125Anne-Marie Piazza and Paul Hawkyard A Christmas Carol at The Rose Theatre. Photo by Mark Douet. C31B1528Tomm Coles and red team Cratchits A Christmas Carol at Rose Theatre. Photo by Mark Douet. I80A8189A Christmas Carol at Rose Theatre. Photo by Mark Douet. I80A8045


Photo credit: all photos of the show by Mark Douet



We were invited to the press preview of A Christmas Carol for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.



The Snow Gorilla

 Snow Gorilla
JugglersHuman Cannon Ball
Today I went to see The Snow Gorilla at the Rose Theatre in Kingston Upon Thames. I did not go alone. I was with my five-year old daughter and about 15 of her school friends and their mums. It was magical.
I didn’t know what the story was about before seeing the show, apart from the big clue in the title. And what a nice surprise to find that it was part story and part circus. The show centred around a circus, and the story took breaks to show the rehearsals. There was flamenco dancing, aerial acrobatics and juggling. There was also a clown, a contortionist and African acrobats. And of course there was a lovely talking gorilla, voiced by Brian Blessed. Brian has had quite a distinguished career but I know him as the voice of Grampy Rabbit.
In case you have never been to The Rose Theatre before, it’s a lovely little theatre. Fab for family shows (we have previously seen ‘Room on the Broom’ and ‘What the Ladybird Heard’ there). There are normal seats, but in the front there is a floor sitting section, so you can bring cushions and sit/stretch out (which we did this time). I prefer normal seats, but it’s nice to be on the floor when you’re in a big group. There is often audience interaction at the Rose, which is nice. My daughter was so thrilled that the clown had come and sat next to us and rubbed our heads. 
If you’re in or not far from Kingston, try to see The Snow Gorilla. It’s a fun and entertaining show. The children oohed and aahed. They enjoyed the tricks and silliness. There was a baddie and a love story. What more could you ask for? 
The Snow Gorilla runs until the 5th January 2014. The show lasts for two hours (flew by), with a 20-minute intermission. Book tickets if you can.
Photos by Helen Maybanks