The Gruffalo, The Witch and The Warthog

Julia Donaldson signs one of her books for Harriett Henry and Heidi Saunders lr
Former Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson CBE signs one of her books for Harriett, Henry and Heidi Saunders

By Tim Saunders

The Gruffalo, The Witch and The Warthog stars award winning author Julia Donaldson. It is quite something to see Julia on stage performing in front of us. She has sold over 13 million copies of The Gruffalo and written more than 200 books. Not only can she write but she can perform, too. In fact she has been a performer for years, having busked her way round Europe in her youth. And what fun this show is.

This performance is a bit of a family affair because Julia appears beside her husband Malcolm, who plays the guitar and her sister Mary together with a couple of friends. They look so comfortable and relaxed. They sing songs and introduce us to some of Julia’s much loved characters such as The Witch, Superworm and finally The Gruffalo.

As The Witch, Julia dons a wig and sits on a broomstick reciting her tale. Little Henry (3) is spellbound especially as it is Halloween time and there’s a witch’s cackle for good measure. Afterwards there are songs about The Ugly Five; creatures like the vulture, warthog and the spotted hyena, which highlight their characteristics and teach us some interesting facts. Julia then teases the children by saying, “I’ve covered all my stories and I’ve finished.” The lights go down and there are sighs of “Oh no you haven’t, what about The Gruffalo?” In time the lights come back up and Julia becomes the mouse in The Gruffalo scaring away a fox, an owl and ultimately The Gruffalo himself. This hour-long performance keeps the children’s attention throughout and they thoroughly enjoy it.

Afterwards there is a book signing and our children meet Julia, who signs one of her books for them.

On until November 2, 2019.

www.theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk

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