Today we were invited to review The Snail and the Whale live on stage at Sherman Theatre. Tall Stories are renowned for their gorgeous productions, and The Snail and the Whale is no exception. This particular Julia Donaldson’s book is one of my favourites, and we all know and love Axel Scheffler’s beautiful illustrations. The poetry within this book is magical, and it’s a joy to read to my children at bedtime.
Tall Stories have taken this glorious poetry and transformed it into an unforgettable theatrical experience. We always have a wonderful experience at Sherman, it’s such a gorgeous theatre to attend. Their performances always offer wonderful insights into a set designer’s mind, as well as inspiring performances, music, lighting and props.
Review: The Snail and the Whale at Sherman Theatre.
This version of the story follows a father and daughter’s relationship, narrated by an older version of the daughter. Hannah Miller performs as the young daughter, offering a sweet and genuine portrayal of child, with plenty of energy and imagination. Rachel Benson is the narrator/older daughter, and her performance is particularly wistful and extremely emotive.
Last, but not least, was Tim Hibberd as the dad – he was beyond fantastic! He had an amazing presence on stage, with tonnes of energy and a mixture of childlike enthusiasm and parental responsibilities. The cast was totally faultless as they performed this extraordinary tale before our very eyes…
The Snail and the Whale: A Mesmerising Performance
The set was made up of very simple and surprising pieces. It was amazing to see tables, a bookcase and a chair transformed into a whale! There were also many other visual delights, such as very clever costumes and imaginative use of all the key pieces placed on the stage.
Music flowed from Rachel Benson’s fingertips as she played the violin. Plus all three performers used their voices to tell the story at certain parts during the show. There was also a lot of awesome audience interaction, with plenty of funny moments (think water guns and ‘he/she’s behind you!’!).
I loved the general sense of fun and light during the production. There’s a very firm reminder that life is too short and we as parents should make more time to play. The ending of the production left us feeling very emotional, with a sense that the father had died. The children didn’t pick up on this, but it’s definitely a wake-up call when it comes to parenting and life itself.
We had the most mesmerising morning watching a beautiful adaptation of The Snail and the Whale, and we left the theatre with a realisation of how life gets on top of us and prevents us from being the parents we want to be. I think it left George and Molly full of ideas for their personal imaginative play. From curious props to exciting adventures, The Snail and the Whale is stunning, heartbreaking and incredibly clever indeed.
You can catch the final show at Sherman today at 4.30pm, tickets are £16 and half price if you’re under 16. They will continue their tour for the rest of the year, with their next stop at The Radlett Centre, Radlett. You can fin more dates here.