In search of a gruffalo

Stephen Anderson as Fox, Crystal Hegedis as Mouse and Chandel Brandimarti as the Gruffalo's child.

Stephen Anderson as Fox, Crystal Hegedis as Mouse and Chandel Brandimarti as the Gruffalo's child.

WHAT actually is a gruffalo? Well, that’s the whole joke in the popular children’s book by Julia Donaldson that first introduced this mysterious creature.

And that will be the question some will ask of the musical production of “The Gruffalo’s Child”, coming to town later in July.

A little mouse mimics the strength of the mysterious gruffalo in the certain knowledge that there is no such creature. However, to his surprise, a real gruffalo appears and helps transform him into the Big Bad Mouse. I am told that Donaldson got the idea from an ancient Chinese tale where the fox borrows the menace of the tiger.

As in all good sequels, there is a child, in this case not the son of gruffalo but his daughter. She goes on a lone adventure into the deep, dark wood looking for her dangerous adversary, where she meets creatures such as the snake, the owl and the fox from the first “Gruffalo” story.

The company is promising puppetry, physical theatre and “paw-tapping music” for kids aged four and up. The stars, Stephen Anderson, Chandel Brandimarti and Crystal Hegedis, are all NIDA graduates.

With a huge creative team, including  former Canberra costume maker Matthew Aberline (who also did the costumes for Nancye Hayes and Reg Livermore in “Turns”), this is the perfect antidote to the many mediocre shows that are thrust on children these days.

“The Gruffalo’s Child”, Canberra Theatre, July 20-23. Bookings to 6275 2700 or canberratheatrecentre.com.au

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