Magical, Musical and Truly Moving: The Bear at Wales Millennium Centre.

Yesterday I had the most amazing day with my two little ones at Wales Millennium Centre where we were invited to see the beautiful performance of Raymond Briggs’s The Bear. I don’t often attend the theatre just the three of us, but it was a lovely chance to have special quality time together in one of our favourite venues in Cardiff.

We had a lovely time before the show with a wander around all the beautiful displays within the vast foyer followed by a delicious lunch. Time flew and we headed up to the studio for the performance; the seating is on a first come, first served basis, so arrive in good time if you want a choice when it comes to seating. We chose seats in the centre of the studio, so we had a pretty good view!

The performance began before it began, as main character Tilly ventured around the audience introducing herself and chatting to all the families. This was a magical touch indeed, and something often overlooked in smaller productions, yet it’s worth its weight in gold; George and Molly were mesmerised!

The story follows Tilly, a girl with a vivid imagination who wakes up one night to discover a snowy white bear in her bedroom. Instead of being afraid or running away, she faces up to the bear and they become friends…

There are three cast members and I have to say, they worked incredibly hard to make the performance magical, enchanting and completely seamless. The scenery and props were effortlessly moved around to create scene after scene and this combined with the talents of the cast ensured a beautifully smooth and serene experience.

I thought the story was told beautifully with very little in the way of dialogue. The actors were extraordinary, and when the bear arrived I was hypnotised with the many ways the choreography and performers moved the bear around the stage. The bear was gorgeous, with intense eyes and massive sweet paws; it was hard not to fall in love with him and even at times when his head was the only prop to be used, we found ourselves getting lost in our imaginations; something Molly kept saying to me after the show.

How the bear was created blows my mind; I just can’t imagine! To add to the beautiful puppetry wouldn’t be difficult, from a cat to a fish during the performance, these elements make the performance exactly what it is – perfection! Some younger children in the audience found the bear a little overwhelming, so I’d suggest talking to your little one(s) and perhaps looking at the book together first, to get them prepared for the lovely performance ahead.

The music was extremely captivating and we loved the use of bubbles, fake snow and water pistols (yes, you may get wet!) as well as the scene where the props for poo and wee are incredibly clever, as well as allowing for more audience interaction!

At the end I actually cried quite big tears, and as I sniffed George turned to me and said, ‘Here, you can have this…’ and passed me a tissue. Obviously this made me cry more, but what a special moment that was.

The performance was, beyond doubt, one of the most beautiful performances we’ve seen. It had this air of magic about it and we left the theatre smiling, happy and free. I think this performance is incredibly special, from the magic of friendship to the encouragement of my children’s imagination, I think The Bear is unmissable!

You can catch The Bear at Wales Millennium Centre until 31st December 2017 and tickets are £10 each.

Disclosure: We received tickets in exchange for review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

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