Sunday, 27 October 2019

THEATRE REVIEW: Dear Zoo - The Lowry Theatre, Salford.

The much loved children’s book “Dear Zoo” by Rod Campbell has packed up a variety of wild animals to travel across the UK on tour for an action packed live stage adaptation. Currently playing at The Lowry in Salford from 25th-27th October, this show is a delight for all ages. I have fond memories of reading this book as a young child and later in life to my four nieces.

In this live adaptation we meet a young brother and sister, who are happy playing in their colourful back garden but feel it is missing something extra special; a pet. So they write to the zoo to send them a pet. Following the order of Campbell’s interactive book, the Zoo Keeper arrives in his van with his first delivery, an elephant but “he was too big....I sent him back”.

Having seen a few pre-school books adapted for the stage, several have failed to reach the very young audience such stories attract, lacking the interaction and stimulation required to maintain their attention for the 40-60 minute production. Refreshingly after the last few pre-school live book adaptations I’ve taken a young child to see, Dear Zoo Live ticked every box as to what a toddlers' book-to-stage adaptation should be. With a cast of three - the brother and sister along with the Zoo Keeper; from the start of the fifty minute production (no interval), the production is colourful, interactive, engaging, stimulating and educational. With short simple songs and actions for children to join in with as we meet each unsuitable pet sent by the zoo, the running length of this production, along with this lively and engaging production, is perfect for all ages and a great way of introducing very young children to the theatre experience.

For anyone who has young children, this is a must-see adaptation of Rod Campbell’s well-loved book.

Reviewer - Lottie Davis-Browne
on - 25/10/19

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