The theatre has given the play a child-friendly setting – no harassing to your seats which are comfortable and easy to find. The children respond by all behaving well during the performance which lasts for just under two hours, including a relaxed 20-minute interval.
I found the production itself faultless – taken at just the right pace to engage the children throughout. They were completely absorbed. The set, costumes and songs are imaginative, engaging the eyes throughout. It was cartoon-like but real too. What really carried it was the tremendous gusto with which the cast performed the dialogue and their ensemble playing. They all played off each other and had relentless drive and enthusiasm.
There is a football match which is one of the most amazing set pieces I have ever seen – forget computer manipulation when you can have quality performances like this from real live human beings. I wanted to cheer them when it finished but that would have disturbed the kids who were just enjoying the plot!
All the cast are great but I thought Steven Tagg really drove the piece as
Henry. I had primed my son not to expect it to be exactly like the books but he was captivated immediately, loving the way the familiar words bounced along. He liked the fact that he could participate by booing now and again but that it wasn’t forced nor got in the way of the action.
The finish is well considered – the performers bow almost in character and leave, giving parents a good way to get the children out. There was not the usual frantic air of haste or hysteria!
It would have been nice to applaud the actors who had worked so hard but this was more family-friendly.
“We definitely must see that again” said eight year-old Mattie as we left the theatre. “Yes we must” said, “do you think Rosa would enjoy it?” “Oh, yes!”
Horrid Henry – Live and Horrid! is brought to life by acclaimed playwright John Godber from the best-selling books by award-winning author Francesca Simon.
Horrid Henry – Live and Horrid! at London's Trafalgar Studios runs until 11 January 2009, is a great Christmas treat suitable for children aged five plus.
Box office: 0870 060 6632
Kids go half-price for all performances, adults: £35/ £30
Photographer: Robert Day