Room on the Broom Review

The Lowry Theatre, Manchester – until Sunday 27th August.  Reviewed by Alison Fearon

The production is an adaption of the best-selling book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler by theatre company Tall Stories, it is 55 minutes long without an interval and recommended for children aged 3+ years.

From the minute you enter the theatre the curtains are open and the children’s imaginations start to unfold about how the story is going to come to life. The production starts with the theatre lights up and the four cast members walking around the audience, talking to the children, explaining they are on a camping trip. The audience are already hooked by this point and when the actors snoring and pretending to sleep, you can hear children giggles around the theatre.

The lights are then dimmed to indicate the start of the performance; the story unfolds about the witch and her faithful companion the cat, they meet the other animals along the way as the witch loses various items from the sky including her Hat, Bow and Wand. The bird, frog and dog are all eye-catching puppets which are mesmerising to watch, each of them having a personality to keep the young ones imaginations captivated.

Once all the characters are together on the broom they are off to find the dragon, but when the broom breaks in two, out comes the dragon to have his ‘witch with chips’. At this stage I was a little concerned the dragon may scare some of the children (including my three year old who was with me). This certainly was not the case, the dragon was a fun, dancing dragon that played the character to the age appropriateness of the audience. The dragon is then defeated by the other animals that transform into a monster from the muddy bog and scare the dragon away.

This is where audience participation of creating a new broom draws the children’s attention back again, chanting the witches spell and with a puff of smoke out appears the new broom.

The production then carefully changes back to the friends camping and once again the issue with snoring is wiped out through a magic spell.

A fantastic performance which kept the audience engaged throughout, with humour, puppetry and audience participation.