Disclosure: We were provided with press tickets and refreshments free of charge for the purpose of this review.
This morning we headed into the city centre to see Emily Brown and the Thing by Tall Stories Theatre Company, at Birmingham Hippodrome.
All four of us really enjoyed the adaptation of the popular childrens book by Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton. With a cast of just three actors, they really brought all the characters to life, and had us all laughing as we enjoyed the show.
Emily Brown and the Thing tells the story of Emily Brown & her toy rabbit Stanley and how, after a very busy day, they are trying to get to sleep. A series of strange noises keep them awake – it’s the Thing! He just can’t get to sleep without his special ‘cuddly’ blanket, his bedtime mik, and a dose of special medicine to cure his cough. All very familiar excuses to any parent!
Emily and Stanley set off on a series of adventures to find these things, venturing into the Dark and Scary wood, the Wild and Whirling Wastes, and he Whiny Witches Cavern in their hunt to satisfy the Thing and help him finally get to sleep. In the end, Thing admits that he is really too scared to go to sleep and Emily helps him face his fears, so they can all get some rest!
James and I were both very impressed with how well the three cast members told a story that involved half a dozen characters, with Sam Buitetant playing The Thing, in addition to a troll, a polar bear, and a witch-as well as providing brilliant (and hilarious) sound effects with just his voice. Sophie Alice was wonderfully entertaining as Emily Brown, and Jordan Turner was fantastic in the role of the ‘old grey rabbit’ Stanley.
Stanley is portrayed both as a soft toy puppet, controlled & voiced by Jordan, and at times by Jordan himself, complete with a pair of ears on the top of his head. There are a few moments where Emily Brown is also a puppet and these are really clever -telling the story of grand adventures up tall trees and down snowy mountains.
The show is just under an hour long with no interval, in the Patrick Studio. we all really enjoyed it and they had all the adults and children in the audience laughing. I really enjoyed the story, the songs, and the simple but clever set design. I always really like shows where it is just a couple of actors, small sets and a handful of props, but it all comes alive on stage with a dash of imagination.
Ticket prices are really reasonable for this show and it is on until 6th January 2019 at the Hippodrome. It is an ideal ‘first theatre trips’ for little ones, and our 5 year old and 7 year old both loved it.