The Autumn half term holiday is just round the corner, and theatre for kids is beckoning. I’ve rounded up a few performances that caught my eye; if you live in or near London, any of these productions might be a good way to keep the children happy for an afternoon or three.
Fantastic Mr Fox at the Little Angel Theatre, Islington
13 Sept-9 Nov. Suitable for ages 4-11, with Baby Friendly performances on Sundays at 11am.
Based on Roald Dahl’s classic tale, this is a show featuring puppets in an acclaimed theatre. It will be interesting to see how well this performance holds up against the film adaptation of the book by Wes Anderson; although the show currently at the Little Angel is successful and long-running (since 2005), it has received some mixed reviews of late. The score by musician Ben Glasstone is likely to be what raises it above the bar.
Dinosaur Zoo Live on tour
Nationwide, from 23 Sept-23 Nov; at the Rose Theatre, Kingston-Upon-Thames on 27 & 28 Oct. Suitable for children over 3.
This is an Australian show, touted to be similar to Walking with Dinosaurs, but smaller in scale. It features realistic-looking puppets, as well as commentary; and there’s a chance to ‘meat and greet’ the dino-stars at the end of the show. Dinosaur Zoo enjoyed a recent run at the Edinburgh Festival and is touring the country, with Londoners able to catch it in Kingston. If you’d like to win family tickets to what looks like a unique performance, enter the competition at the bottom of this page.
Nosferatu at the Unicorn Theatre, London Bridge
30 Oct-2 Nov. For those aged over 8.
It wouldn’t be Halloween half term without a spooky number to send tingles down to our toes. My two children are too young for this performance, but temptingly there is an adult-only show at 10pm on Halloween itself. Nosferatu is by ‘unconventional French theatre-makers, Bob Theatre’ and is broadly based on the Dracula story. For those who’d rather not sit through a scary show, there is plenty more on offer for other age groups at the Unicorn.
Oliver Jeffers’ The Way Back Home at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre
29 Oct-2 Nov. For children aged 4-8.
A puppet show by Denmark’s Teater Refleksion and Ireland’s Branar Téatar do Pháistí. Based on Oliver Jeffers’ delightful novel, the show features a boy who discovers an aeroplane and finds more than he bargains for when he flies it into outer space. The design, by Teater Refleksion’s Mariann Agaard looks elegant and Scandi-cute (see the picture at the top of this page). Jeffers’ book harbours a deep soul within its simple tale; let’s hope this performance does it justice.
Flat Stanley at the Polka Theatre, Wimbledon
16 Oct-1 Nov. For children aged 5-10.
The classic children’s book has been adapted by Mike Kenny, who won an Olivier award for his stage version of the Railway Children. It includes song and dance to accompany the compelling story of a boy who is squashed flat in his sleep, and then goes off on all sorts of adventures. Shows at the Polka are routinely high quality; we thoroughly enjoyed MoominSummer Madness, and it sounds as though Flat Stanley will be similarly top-notch.
Disclosure: we have been offered tickets to some, but not all of these performances. All views are my own.