Jamie loves Julia Donaldson books and one of his absolute favourites and much-requested books for me to read is ‘Room on the Broom’. So when we were gifted tickets to review the show by the Theatre Royal in Nottingham we jumped at the chance. This is our review of Room on the Broom. Room on the Broom is currently at the Lyric Theatre until the 13th January 2019.
Our little boy is witch mad. He has been for at least 2 years now. He has a broomstick and a hat not to mention a couple of wands. The Wizard of Oz is one of his favourite films and any books with witches in are always picked out to loan at the library. He was so excited to be going to see Room on the Broom as an onstage show and must have asked about 20 times that morning how long it was until it started.
Before the show, we went for a pre-theatre lunch over the road to TGI Fridays. If you would like to read more about our lunch there please click here – TGI Fridays, Nottingham – A pre theatre family lunch review.
My review – Room on the Broom
The show runs for 55 minutes but the actors came onstage approximately 10 minutes before the advertised start time, so make sure you take your seats reasonably early.
We were seated stalls right. With Jamie still clutching his funky glasses from lunch.
The four actors come onstage in their dressing gowns and chit chat to each other while out on a camping trip. A lot of the younger people in the audience hadn’t really noticed them but Jamie was gripped and desperately trying to hear what they were saying. As soon as they played a bit of hide and seek everyone was captivated and ready for the show. Then when the actors went to sleep the snoring had all the kids laughing out loud. The actors then hear some noises and decide there must be a witch in the sky.
After a quick change out of their dressing gowns, while playing more hide and seek, Room on the Broom commences. The show is kept true to the story by every sentence of the book being told at some point. Lots had to be added to the story as you can’t make a 55 minute show out of the book itself. The witch onstage is actually hunting the dragon and the cat is decidedly grumpy with all the new arrivals on the broom plus much more.
Amy Harris plays the witch and with her costume matching that of the book she plays a very convincing witch. Emma Crowley-Bennett plays her faithful companion the cat. They then meet new companions along the way as the witch loses various items. These are the puppet characters of the dog, the bird and then the frog.
David Garud voices and mostly animates the frog and the dog. Connor Bloom is the voice of the bird and also the scary red dragon later on in the show. The puppets have very quirky personalities, especially the American stretchy frog and the cute loveable dog. Dale Wylde is the understudy.
Audience participation is encouraged in certain parts of the show, especially with a couple of the songs. We all loved the puppets. They were animated in a thoroughly funny, clever and entertaining way. The movements of the dog were incredibly realistic. He was most certainly my favourite character whereas Jamie and my Mum preferred the dragon.
Once we had met all the characters that join the witch on her broom the broom becomes over crowded and breaks in two. The witch is separated from her companions and it is then that we meet the dragon who not only wants to BBQ the audience but to eat the witch as well. The dragon in the book is rather scary. But luckily this dragon wasn’t one that could give the kids nightmares. He acted out the role of the dragon in a rather comical way. The fiery breath bit will make you laugh! The humour woven into the show is a lovely addition. A rather scary but impressive bog monster scares the dragon away, which turns out to be her broom friends.
They finish the show with a fun spell to make a new all singing all dancing longer and comfier broom. Make sure you join in with the spell “Iggety, Ziggety, Zaggety, ZOOM”. The actors finish the show back in their dressing gowns, snoring and then casting a spell of their very own.
This show is recommended for children (plus their adults of course) aged 3+. In all honesty, I would stand by this recommendation. I thought some of the younger children were too young for the show and there was quite a lot of chitter chatter from the back of the auditorium. We did go on a Friday when naturally there would only be little people in attendance. I would imagine the sold out Saturday and Sunday shows were full of older children. I guess noise is to be expected from little people and I would encourage a love of the theatre in any child.
Jamie is 4 in two months and was completely riveted. He was giggling out louds lots, especially to many of the comical moments. I can see this being entertaining to children up to at least 8 years old.
Important Information – Room on the Broom UK Tour.
Room on the broom is on in the UK until the end of August, visiting many other towns and cities for more than one night at each theatre. Sometimes for more than one performance in a day. The tour stops at The Lowry in Salford from the 1st-27th August. Tickets are selling out fast. The Saturday and Sunday performances were sold out in Nottingham. Get your tickets here via this link. The show has toured all over the world since 2008. Watch the video below for snippets of the show. Printable activates can be found by clicking on this text. Merchandising was available at the venue. Such as soft toys of the cat, witch and dragon.
Important Information – The Theatre Royal
If you are taking reasonably little ones to the Theatre Royal then I can recommend that you get a booster seat to borrow from the cloakroom. They will ensure that your child can see and that their seat doesn’t tip them back slightly. Prams and buggies can be left in the area adjacent to the cloakroom which is on your right from the main entrance.
When you book online the website allows you to book from an interactive map. This makes choosing your seating extremely easy. If the tickets are available you can choose to sit in the stalls, this is the floor area in front of the stage. There are 7 boxes that are sometimes available to book. They then have 3 balcony levels, Dress circle, Upper circle and the highest being balcony. The balconies are lovely, ornate and very cream and green.
There are various transport options to the theatre. Such as car, tram, bus and train. Please read this link for further information. We parked at the nearby Q Park car park. You can book online, even on the same day as your visit for just £5 for up to 5 hours (instead of £8). This is more than worth doing. Please see also the link above for booking and further information..
As well as the many nearby cafes and restaurants in Nottingham there is also the option to eat at the theatre itself. You could enjoy a 3 course meal in the Dress circle restaurant. This is a fine dining experience. The bars on all main foyer areas offer pre show and interval drinks. This show did not have an interval so drinks were only available before the show. If you are looking for food but don’t want the cost of fine dining then the downstairs Green room café bar is for you.
Room on the Broom is a Tall Stories Production.
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Disclaimer: We were gifted our tickets for the purpose of this review. All words are my own. Photos are my own unless otherwise credited.