The true test of a children’s show is the reaction of the little ones watching and from start to finish my four-year-old daughter was mesmerised by We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
The stage-version is adapted from Michael Rosen’s popular children’s picture book of the same name, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. It means the children are already familiar with the story and the characters and ready to join in. And at The Lowry there is more opportunity to build excitement around the show, with related activities going on.
Before the show we visited the Carole Nash Lookout, a space for kids upstairs in the Lowry, next to the Galleries, where we made bear masks ready for the show.
Just like the book, the Sally Cookson’s stage adaptation leaves plenty of room for children’s imaginations to flourish. The sets and props are simple – a blue bucket river, painted hand prints for mud, and a cardboard box forest – but very effective and really help in telling the story and keeping it true to the storybook, with a few added extras thrown in.
We especially enjoyed how interactive it was. An energetic cast of actor musicians involve the audience throughout, whether it be joining in with singing or asking the audience to helping tell the story. And the water pistols are a real hit with the young crowd.
The live music is brilliant, it really sets the mood for the different scenarios the family face in their search for the bear, with a range of instruments, from the kazoo to the accordion, being used and played by Buddy the Dog. The songs are all very catchy and had us singing them the whole afternoon.
It’s a real ensemble effort from an excellent cast who have the whole theatre entertained throughout the hour-long performance. It’s a fun-filled show, perfect for all the family. If you are familiar with the story it is a must see.
And our bear hunt didn’t finish there, because afterwards we went for a bear hunt of our own. There are three to be found in the Lowry Theatre and another 8 bears in The Lowry Outlet opposite. You can pick up a bear hunt trail map at the Information Desk. The trail has a quiz with a series of questions about the different bears, with information to be gleaned about them alongside the models. All together the activities and show make for a fun-packed day – definitely a thumbs up from us.★ ★ ★ ★ ★
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is at The Lowry, Salford Quays from Sat 3 August – Sun 1 September 2019.