Show review by Julia Pattison: The Snail and the Whale at York Theatre Royal

Children’s Theatre: The Snail and The Whale

Monday, 5th July 2021, 7:55 am
There was lots of much appreciated audience interaction with the cast, who were boundless in their energy and enthusiasm throughout the 55 minute play.
There was lots of much appreciated audience interaction with the cast, who were boundless in their energy and enthusiasm throughout the 55 minute play.

Venue: York Theatre Royal

Review by: Julia Pattison

The Snail and the Whale is my granddaughter’s favourite story, and I share her enthusiasm.

We often snuggle down on the sofa together or at bedtime, to read and enjoy this wonderful tale of a snail.

Julia Donaldson is a magnificent storyteller and she and book illustrator Axel Scheffler make a perfect team.

So, it was with great excitement that we both took our seats to see Tall Stories adaptation of this iconic story.

Narrator/viola player Amy Jackson-Ives commanded the stage as she opened the play; it was a joy to hear live music being used throughout, either as sound effects or to accompany songs, or as instrumental sea shanties.

Amy was soon joined by Daughter/ Snail Molly Rolfe, and Dad/ Whale Steve Mccourt and the tale of the tiny snail began.

I was intrigued to see how the three actors would tell the tale, and was most impressed with the adaptation which focused on a father-daughter relationship.

Isla Shaw’s clever set design complemented the narrative of the book, and the very touching narrative of the close bond between a sailor father and his little girl who, like the snail, longed to go to sea.

The bedroom furniture cleverly transformed into the whale (I particularly liked the imaginative use of the leather high backed chair becoming the tail) and we set sail with the actors on a wonderfully imaginative voyage.

There was lots of much appreciated audience interaction with the cast, who were boundless in their energy and enthusiasm throughout the 55 minute play.

“Speedy“ the snail was a poignant symbol of being close to someone you love; this was storytelling at its best, a good story full of lively tunes and action, thoroughly entertaining a young audience, yet speaking to the adults in the audience too.