It doesn't feel like Christmas until I have been to The Rose Theatre in Kingston. Every year they put on an amazing Christmas show, and they never let me down. I wasn't sure if they were going to be able to top last year's A Christmas Carol, especially as this year they chose a play you wouldn't expect to be on for Christmas. This winter sees the much-beloved book, The Wind in the Willows, brought to life.
I won't keep you in suspense - The Wind in the Willows was utterly mesmerising. Mole is lonely and abandons his life of cleaning and doing mole things. He goes in search of adventure, and meets Ratty, who gives Mole a boat ride and their adventure begins. The staging was simple but effectively conveyed the areas of the river and Toad Hall. They even manage a ride-able motorcar for Toad, who is fond of wild joyrides.
Who doesn't love Quentin Blake? Besides his gorgeous illustrations for Roald Dahl books, he has written and illustrated a fair number of books. And one of his books, Mrs Armitage and the Big Wave, has now been made into a fun family show. If you're not familiar with the Mrs Armitage books, she has a few adventures - on the road and on wheels. And her ordinary but extraordinary adventure surfing a big wave does not disappoint.
We went to see Mrs Armitage and the Big Wave at Watermans arts centre in Brentford. It is such a lovely venue, with a restaurant, cinema and theatre, and parking. The play consisted of two actresses who took on the roles, along with a screen as the background. The show is recommended for children up to eight years old. My four-year old and eight-year old both loved it. Moozles and Dubz thoroughly enjoyed the 60-minute show. Not only was it entertaining but it sparked their imaginations.
One of my son's favourite books is The Tiger Who Came to Tea, written by Judith Kerr. So I couldn't wait to take him and his sister to see the live show based on the book. Husband and I took Moozles to see it when she was three and she absolutely loved the show. And I was certain that Dubz would enjoy it as well. So last week we hopped on the District Line to Sloane Square and to the lovely Cadogan Hall to see the show.
If you're not familiar with The Tiger Who Came to Tea, it is a lovely book about a tiger who unexpectedly comes to little Sophie's house for tea. It isn't a long book which translate to a 55-minute long show (no interval). Sophie, her mummy and daddy, and of course the tiger sing and dance and enthrall the audience. Abbey Norman plays Sophie, and she is delightful. The daddy (Benjamin Wells) plays all the male parts, including the tiger, and does an amazing job. Dubz was mesmerised, and couldn't get enough of the tiger. Whenever the tiger wasn't on stage, he kept demanding 'more tiger'. And even at eight years old, Moozles wholly enjoyed the show.
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.
Regular readers know that I am a huge fan of the Rose Theatre Kingston. We have seen loads of family shows there over the past few years, and we have enjoyed every show. In a few weeks, Husband and I will be taking Moozles and Dubz to see Dinosaur Zoo. Regular readers might remember that Dubz is crazy for dinosaurs, so he is going to be thrilled to see this show.
If you are not familiar with Dinosaur Zoo, it is a fun interactive show filled with dinosaur puppets of all sizes, including a Tyrannosaurus Rex. And it is supposed to be quite funny. After the 50-minute show, there is a meet-and-greet so the children can get up close to the terrifying creatures. Okay, the dinosaurs look pretty cute but I am sure the kids will be pretty amazed anyway. The show is recommended for ages three and over. Dubz is four and Moozles is eight, and I'm sure they will both enjoy it.
Dinosaur Zoo is playing all around the UK until September 2016 but will be at the Rose Theatre Kingston from 30 July until the 1st August. Since the Rose Theatre is in the round, you are pretty much guaranteed a good seat wherever you sit. There is even a space near the front where you can bring your own cushions and sit on the floor (perfect for those squirmy toddlers who don't like to sit still). Tickets cost about £13.50 each. But if you would like the chance to win a family ticket (two adults and two children's tickets), enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below.
Moozles loves reading. And one of her favourite authors is Roald Dahl. His books really capture the imaginations of children, and adults. So Moozles was thrilled when we found out that The Witches had been turned into a live show and would be playing at the Rose Theatre Kingston. The Rose is our local theatre, and always seems to show the best plays and musicals.
If you're not familiar with the book, The Witches is a story of a boy who goes to live with his grandmother after his parents' death. And it is from her that he learns of the true account of witches. Witches walk among us, though you probably would never notice them. They always wear gloves and they loathe children. And one day, the Grand High Witch comes up with a plan to get rid of all the children in the UK. *gasp* If you want to find out what happens, you will have to go see The Witches live, or read the book.
Last weekend, Husband and I went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Moozles. Moozles loves Roald Dahl, and although she has not read this book yet, she was excited to see the play. She was also excited to have some time alone with her mummy and daddy. My in-laws were kind enough to travel down to London to take care of Dubz for the day. The play is recommended for ages seven and over, and I did not think that our chatty, energetic three-year old could sit still for that long.
If you want to see a family show in London's West End, I can thoroughly recommend Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The production is absolutely fantastic. The set and costumes look amazing and really transport you off the stage. It is directed by the Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes, and it is filled with an outstanding cast. Ross Dawes as Willy Wonka was terrific. I thought the show-stealer was Logan Cripps, who played Augustus Gloop. He was just so funny and adorable. And the Oompa Loompa were done so cleverly and were choreographed so well. ...continue reading
Located on the edge of London and Surrey, Kingston-upon-Thames is a lovely place to live. It is also a lovely place to visit. And if you live nearby, why not give central London a miss and visit one of the many fun attractions?
Husband and I recently had a child-free day, so of course we went into central London. And as always, we packed in as much as possible. First dim sum, then The Wallace Collection, followed by an early dinner and a play in London's West End. We had done some research online the night before and had narrowed it down to three possible plays. The next day we popped into Leicester Square and bought some last-minute tickets at one of the booths there. We were happy that we managed to get stall tickets for our first choice - Nell Gwynn.
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.