I love the theatre; there really is something special about it and I am lucky that living in Manchester means that there are a good number of wonderful shows that come here. On Easter Saturday I saw the Kings Speech and on Friday last week, it was time for Daniel’s first theatre trip and the show I chose for him was Room on the Broom.
I wasn’t too sure how Daniel would react but as I know the Lowry theatre quite well I knew it was being performed in the smaller theatre there so it shouldn’t overwhelm him too much. Room on the Broom is a book we have read time and time again, so much so that I can recite it from memory now! The weather was lovely on Friday so we headed over to Salford for lunchtime and got a bite to eat in the Lowry shopping centre. As it was a really lovely day we had a short wander around then Daniel and I headed in. We had a walk around and talked about the show we were going to see – I’m not sure he quite understood though!
We took our seats early as he was pretty tired so I explained to him about the stage we could see and what would happen. I haven’t been to a show aimed at children before but I was really impressed with how this one started. The four actors came out onto the stage having a chat and it took a moment or two for the audience to realise they were on stage. Eventually as the audience realised it started to quieten down. Daniel was a bit unsure what was going on but was watching with interest. The cast then had a game of hide and seek around the theatre, much to the hilarity of some of the older children. Then… this is where things went a bit wrong for us!
The cast were going to sleep, and this meant that the lights went down, the doors to the theatre closed and one of the cast started snoring. Loudly. Daniel immediately burst into tears and was clinging to me and pointing to the doors. Thankfully we were on the end of the row, and, as luck would have it, were directly opposite the doors.
It became clear I wasn’t going to calm Daniel down so as I was keen to not disrupt those around us we went outside. I have to say the staff on hand were brilliant. One gentleman in particular was superb with us, putting me at ease and reminding me that the theatre can be quite an overwhelming experience and not to worry. I managed to get Daniel calmer and he agreed to go back in. The main part of the show had started at this point, so I was explaining things to Daniel so he understood that story we were watching.
We sat back in our seats but Daniel started to cry again so we watched the rest of the show stood up at the edge of the theatre with close access to the doors. He did eventually calm down enough to watch and, I think, enjoy the show. His favourite character was the Frog as we actually got a giggle from him when he started to dance and jump around.
The show was around an hour long and it was brilliant. Just the right length I think for this age group. Daniel is just under 2.5 years old, and the show is aimed from age three. For Daniel the theatre trip came at the wrong time as he was really, really tired on Friday after a busy week following Easter and I don’t think this helped when he got slightly upset and overwhelmed by it all.
The cast and puppets are superb and the story is told well. Most parents will be familiar with the wonderful work of Julia Donaldson and Room on the Broom transferred really well on to the stage – much better than I imagined it would. The story is told by just four amazing actors who use puppets, songs and different voices to bring it all to life. There are lots of different jokes to keep children and adults entertained. The songs are excellent and very catchy and I have been singing the final song time and time again this weekend. Daniel even joins in dancing with me too.
I saw Room on the Broom at the Lowry Theatre in Salford and I have to say the staff were brilliant. All were friendly and talked to Daniel at his level and did their best to put him at ease, despite him being clearly upset. The theatre itself is always spotless and the sound, lighting etc is perfect. Another of our favourite books, Stick Man, is on next month and I am thinking of getting tickets to that for him too.
Take a look at the Room on The Broom website to see if there is a show near you. It really is worth a visit.