Snail and the Whale, Jacksons Lane, review: ‘A real delight’

Snail and the Whale

Snail and the Whale - Credit: Archant

Theatre company Tall Stories have scored another hit with this heart-warming ode to the sea, says Caroline David.

With their heart-warming adaptation of The Snail and the Whale now playing at Jackson’s Lane, theatre company Tall Stories who are based at the venue, have scored another hit with their faithful but inventive take on this classic by Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffer.

Cleverly setting up the narrative through a young girl’s point of view, the story plays on two levels: the girl’s love for her absent sea-faring father who sends her a CD of him reading the story, prompting her to remember how they used to re-enact scenes, alongside the staging of the tale itself.

Tall Stories excels at the flexible use of props: the cupboards become a whale, a toy snail is carried by the girl like a rucksack as she plays out the story of the adventurous snail who hitches a lift on the tail of a kindly humpback.

The set-up is a bit drawn out but the four-plus audience were delighted with plenty of ‘she’s behind you’ panto participation as the girl tries to avoid bed-time by scrambling amongst audience members’ legs.

The children went wild when the actors sprayed audience members with water guns to conjure up showering the whale when he’s beached and needs rescuing.

With a huge porthole centre-stage, a dreamy seaside-themed bedroom, magical lighting shifts and a violinist accompanying the story conjuring up seagulls and whales, as well as a score of classic sea songs, this ode to the sea is a real delight.

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Rating: 4/5 stars