Review: Families Will Love This Inventive Stage Version Of Room On The Broom
Room on the Broom at artsdepot in Finchley is an inventive and inclusive show that's just as much fun for adults as it is for the children who love Julia (Gruffalo) Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's book. The story is gentle but exciting and the actors are full of energy, but avoid tipping over into annoying perkiness.
The creators (Tall Stories Theatre Company) appreciate that children waiting in the audience for a play to start are going to get fidgety very quickly. So, with 10 minutes to go, the cast are already on stage running through the stalls chatting to families and keeping kids entertained with jokes and questions.
When it starts we are introduced to Witch (Amy Harris) and Cat (Alexandra Harman) in a fun opening sequence using well choreographed movement, sleight of hand costume changes and an upbeat comic song that sets the tone for the whole production. There is something very quintessentially English about the kind-hearted but bumbling character and her long-suffering but savvy sidekick.
It's the puppetry (designed by Yvonne Stone) that makes this show extra special however. Deftly handled by David Garrud (Dog / Frog) and Luke McConnell (Bird / Dragon), who are a tireless double act interchanging characters at lightning speed. While the children are enthralled at the fast-paced action, adults can marvel at the cast's ability to switch accents and positions so quickly without every loosing the thread of their story. There are definitely some jokes that only adults will get and we're pretty sure even some Queen lyrics right at the end.
Room on the Broom is perfect for a relaxed family Christmas outing. The cast do really well keeping all the kids engaged throughout as they're not phased by the ebb and flow of noise from the audience. The quickly changing action and repetitive, colourful storytelling ensures even the most boisterous of kids will constantly have their attention drawn by something new, and the finale is well worth waiting for as the most exciting set-piece is kept until the very end... hint hint; Best. Ride. Ever.
Room on the Broom is at artsdepot, 5 Nether Street, Tally Ho Corner, N12 0GA until 3 January. Tickets £8-£12.50. Londonist saw this performance on a complimentary ticket.
Last Updated 14 December 2015