Theatre Review – What the Ladybird Heard, Rose Theatre, Kingston Upon Thames


Remember this one!

Theatre for Early Years children is getting bigger and better by the day and now it’s hitting the West End.  This summer you’ll be able to see What The Ladybird Heard in the Lyric Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue.  What a superb day out!!  If you’re wondering what you’d be in for then have a look at the review from when the Ladybird came to the visit the Rose in Kingston three years ago…….


My rating: 4 out of 5

I took my four year old to see this show yesterday. The book is one of her favourites, so much so that we can both recite the whole thing from start to finish. It was her first trip to the theatre and the first time I’d seen a Julia Donaldson book adaptation.

I was pleasantly surprised. The set designers had worked closely with the book’s illustrator so walking into the theatre was like stepping into a page of the book. The animal puppets were beautiful and played really well by a very talented cast.

Once the show started however it was 25 mins before they started to tell the story. I know why they did it – padding was required to make it up to an hour – but the writers chose to take the actors out of character and have them play stage management and audience members. We heard the story of how to cast the show before we saw the show! A four year old doesn’t know or care what a stage manager is. They know what a cow, pig and sheep are though. This story is all about the animals and for me they didn’t play a big enough role and could easily have been used to good effect to pad the story.

But I’m being picky! When it comes to theatre I’m very picky!

There was a lot that was right with this production. The cast were very talented, in particular the chap who played Lanky Len, and all played musical instruments on stage to add a live element to the backing track. The songs were great and called for some interaction from the audience which of course went down a storm. Once we got into the story Julia Donaldson’s words were at the centre of the script which really helps young audiences to engage with the medium.

I would highly recommend taking little ones to see to see this show. They’re on a world tour so they’ll be popping up somewhere local I’m sure. Take a snack though as 45 mins in the natives got really restless. This is the point at which feeding your child will mean you get to enjoy the end of the show and not spend the last 15 minutes telling them off!

The show will run from 5th July to the 10th September.  For more details including how to book tickets follow click HERE.

And no, I haven’t been paid for writing this blog.  I just like seeing justice served.  That Lanky Len has tried to steal a fine prize cow once too often!


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SARAH CANTRILL is a woman on a mission to inspire every young child to become a reader for pleasure.  She is the Artistic Director & Founder of STORY STORKS, a social enterprise that delivers interactive story workshops to early years children and their grown ups, that help kids to fall in love with stories and develop their early language skills meaning that they have an easier time of learning to read when the time is right.  Infact 85% of the kids who come through STORY STORKS  are right where they should be or ahead in terms of progression through the reading book scheme once they get to school and the ones who are behind are trying hard because they know that it’s worth it – that to read is to unlock a whole world of fun and adventure and learning and imagination and they might take a bit longer to get there but they’re determined that get there they will.



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