Happily, this seems to be a bumper season for adaptations from the dynamic duo: The Scarecrow's Wedding is at the Leicester Square Theatre this festive season as well, and Tabby McTat just finished a run at Fairfield Halls.
Tall Stories' The Snail and the Whale, reimagined as the story of a young girl and her seafaring father telling the tale of a tiny snail's global adventures - while attached to the tail of a big humpback whale - is playing at the Apollo Theatre through the first week of January 2020.
While it's not a faithful page-to-stage retelling of the beloved picture book, it does something even better: it speaks to the power of stories for transporting you anywhere you want to be, whether that's past or present, on dangerous seas or in faraway lands.
The story, where dad (Tim Hibberd) is the whale and daughter (Hannah Miller) is the snail, is imaginatively brought to life with everyday props: a snail-shaped rucksack helps identify the daughter hiding from her dad at bedtime, a series of blue benches, an armchair and a bookshelf effectively transforms into the whale.
Our two four and five-year-old co-reviewers were completely engaged throughout, copying movements, shouting out destinations, making penguin sounds, reaching their arms out to get soaked by water guns...
The creative way Tall Stories reimagines this story in this production directed by Toby Mitchell, including Charlotte Mafham as an older version of the daughter, narrator and viola player, will be a hit with kids who know and love the story well. Even those who don't may find they suddenly have an 'itchy foot' - like the snail - and a newfound hunger for more adventure and stories.
For parents, it also provides some lovely inspiration on how to turn a beloved story read to a child for the 457th time, into something a little bit magical, using the toys in their room and a blanket or two to make it come alive one day and inject a bit of theatrics into the experience.
Tall Stories has adapted numerous Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler classics for the stage, including The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom.
After you see the live version, tune into BBC One this Christmas: Magic Light Pictures has turned The Snail and the Whale into an animated feature airing on Christmas Day.
The show is suitable for ages 4 and up - it's ideal for the reception crowd but slightly older kids will also get a lot out of it.
|What||The Snail and the Whale brings the magic of storytelling to life on stage|
|Where||Apollo Theatre, 31 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 7ES | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Piccadilly Circus (underground)|
30 Nov 19 – 05 Jan 20, various
|Price||£15 and up|
|Website||Click here to book|