For the last few years an essential part of part Christmas build up has been going to the theatre to see a children’s play – usually adapted from a Julia Donaldson book. It now feels like a Christmas tradition. This is the first year we have actually been able to take the twins as they are now 3 so it was lovely to go as the whole family and not feel anyone was being left out. What the Ladybird Heard is a show aimed at children aged 2+ and we all loved it including my 6 year old.
I was really excited about this adaptation because What the Ladybird Heard is one of our favourite Julia Donaldson books but I had no idea how they were going to turn it into a play. Molly thought there would be puppets with an actor dressed in red and black to be the ladybird with pipe cleaner antennae. I don’t want to spoil too much about the performance as half the delight is seeing how they bring the story to life but I have to say I loved how the animals were created.
We saw the performance at the Town Hall Birmingham. This is such a great venue for children’s theatre as you are close enough to what is happening and really feel a part of it. The set is lovely and just like a large version of the Lydia Monks illustrations. It has lots of clever touches which make it magical for the children, like roses which flower around the doorway and ears or corn which grow from the front of the stage.
The girls loved the whole show. The songs were very catchy and we were soon singing and clapping and having a lovely time. They loved the cats and the cow but the highlight was the ladybird. It was so much better than someone dressed up as a ladybird and how they made the ladybird appear felt really magical.
My only worry with the performance was with the baddies. My girls can be scardy-cats at times and which they find the baddies in the book funny it is different seeing them on the page than right in front of you on stage. The way the baddies were introduced was brilliant and meant that the children weren’t scared. It is such a great story for children because the baddies plot is foiled by the tiniest creature.
The play is spot on for young children. The performance is a great length to keep their attention (there is no interval so make sure you buy treats first). It is the perfect first theatre trip for little ones and for a treat in the holidays. Tickets cost £11.50 which is a great price for such an inventive and engaging show. You can still catch the show at The Town Hall in Birmingham but after that it is touring so if you get chance it’s definitely worth going.
Friday 20 December – Friday 10 January 2014 Town Hall, Birmingham
On Friday 10 January, Town Hall Birmingham will be presenting its very first Relaxed Performance. Though open to all, the new production of Julia Donaldson’s award-winning book What the Ladybird Heard has been specially-adapted for people with an Autistic Spectrum Condition, a learning disability or sensory and communication disorder.
The performance features changes to lighting and sound levels, a chill-out area and a relaxed attitude to noise and movement within the audience, with doors left open for families to come and go. In addition, there is a free familiarisation tour and a filmed visitors’ guide to Town Hall to help audiences find their way around. Visual guides will also be available online shortly with practical advice about the venue as well as information about the production and cast to help parents prepare children for the show.
The brand new production of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks’ award-winning picture book What the Ladybird Heard features two crafty robbers, one tiny ladybird and whole farmyard of fun. It contains live music, plenty of audience participation and one or two special surprises! From the producers of Gruffalo, this production is ideal for children aged 2 and above.
Relaxed performances are set to become a regular feature of Town Hall and Symphony Hall’s planning with The Gruffalo (August 2014) and The Tiger Who Came to Tea (Christmas 2014) coming soon.
For booking details visit www.thsh.co.uk/event/what-the-ladybird-heard-relaxed-performance or contact the box office on 0121 780 3333
Disclaimer: We were sent tickets to the performance for the purposes of this review.