The Gruffalo: It’s Not Just a Children’s Show


Yesterday, we had the pleasure of having lunch with the cast of The Gruffalo. We met with Ellie Bell who plays Mouse, Timothy Richey who plays the Predators (Owl, Snake, and Fox), and Owen Guerin who plays The Gruffalo.

The Gruffalo play is based on the award-winning picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. It follows the adventures of Mouse as she journeys through the woods and tries to outwit her predators

The Cast of The Gruffalo
from L-R: Owen Guerin, Ellie Bell, Timothy Richey

Is it strictly a children’s show?

Guerin: “No. We like to call it a family show. I find that it appeals to everyone.”

Richey: “The company says that it’s applicable for ages 3 to 103.” (laughs)

Bell: “A lot of the adults are surprised when they get here and start watching the show; how much fun they have as well as the kids. And you can see the parents’ faces light up when they see the kids have fun. I think that’s what’s most enjoyable for them- watching their kids just be completely in awe.”

 

The Gruffalo
Mouse played by Ellie Bell

“It’s good for the family. So the parents don’t come and sit there for 55 minutes and get bored. There are lots of jokes for the adults in it”.

(READ: Concertus Manila Brings The Gruffalo Live to RCBC)

Richey: “There are moments when the kids will laugh because they see mum and dad laughing. And they don’t really understand why they’re laughing. “ (laughs)

Bell: “It’s not just to sit and watch. There are lots of times when the families will sit there together and ‘roar’ together and encourage each other and shout and pounce together and things like that.”

Gruffalo
Mouse (Ellie Bell) and The Gruffalo (Owen Guerin)

So it’s a very interactive show?

Guerin: “Yes, definitely. It runs for 55 minutes and it’s got seven songs and dances. It’s quite a physical show. You’ll find it very rare for us to be standing there and not really doing much. There are a lot of physical movements.”

Belle: “We encourage people to dance in their seats and sing along, so it’s not just sit and watch it. It’s very much join in with us and take part of it.”

Gruffalo
Owl played by Timothy Richey

Richey: “Sometimes we just stop on stage and wait for them to finish screaming, ‘Gruffalo! Gruffalo’!”

Guerin: “Sometimes there’s a point in the show where there’s 700 children screaming one word, and it’s like a wall of sound that kind of hits the stage. It’s amazing.”

“You’ll find people leave the show always singing the songs. But not like a few days, but for weeks and weeks afterwards.”

They talk about it being a very, very popular book in the UK and was even voted as the number one book at bedtime.

Richey: “Quite often at home, it’s the dad that will read The Gruffalo to the kids at bedtime, so when the families come see the show, the kids are into it seeing the Gruffalo on stage, but it’s the dad next to them… you can see it in their eyes. There are a few times when we ask for ‘roars’ from the audience and it’s the dads that kind of go all out.”

What can we expect from the sets and costumes?

Gruffalo
From top to bottom: The Gruffalo (Owen Guerin), The Fox (Timothy Richey), and Mouse (Ellie Bell)

Guerin: “The show is really immersive as well. So our sets and costumes are really heavily based on the book. It’s like we got a page of The Gruffalo and just kind of thrown it on the stage. (laughs) So when the children and the parents come and sit in the auditorium you can truly kind of believe that you’re sitting in the woods. We love it.”

The show will be running from today through Sunday at the RCBC Theater.

Click here for a summarized version of the show.

For more information about what’s happening in the Manila theater scene, please view our Theater Calendar.

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