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5* Review: The Gruffalo’s Child and Pier Eight – The Lowry, Salford Quays

On until 4 September at The Lowry theatre on Salford Quays is Tall Stories Theatre Company’s wonderful musical adaptation of the sequel to award-winning picture book The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child.

There can’t be that many youngsters who don’t know all about the cuddly-but-scary Gruffalo and his inquisitive offspring.

So it was no surprise to find a full audience of very excited little ones waiting for a glance of the man (or monster) himself yesterday morning for the opening show.

Young Gruffalo girl is told by her dad not to venture into the deep dark wood in search of the mighty Mouse.

She decides she will anyway! But was it a really bad idea? What follows is a magical adventure you can’t help but swept along with, as she meets a party-loving snake whom I absolutely adored, an eccentric owl and a Del Boy-type fox in her search for the mouse.

The cast of three engage with the audience throughout with Andrew Mudie putting in a superb performance as a most of the characters, including The Gruffalo.

Sophie Alice makes a good Gruffalo child, full of innocence and cuteness and not in the slightest bit scary.

I felt Mouse (Catriona Mackenzie) acting as narrator is a good move too as it simplifies the plot and helps the story flow smoothly.

There are plenty of catchy tunes and laughs to keep everybody engrossed. The stage is well-crafted yet simple and costumes are minimal yet effective.

At 55 minutes long with no interval it is just the right length and avoids the chance for fidgeting (and desperate toilet trips).

Gruffalo’s Child is charming and cleverly adapted for the stage. A must for fans but also any youngsters and dare I say us adults as well!.

I would say this is the perfect summer holiday treat for ages four and up.

I took my nephew Bailey along for a 6th birthday treat and he absolutely loved it, coming away singing the songs with a big smile on his face – surely that speaks for itself?

The Gruffalo’s Child deserves the full five SalfordOnline.com stars!

5* Review: Pier Eight – The Lowry, Salford Quays

Pier Eight Restaurant and bar is the ideal place for a bite to eat for a pre/post theatre meal. It boasts huge glass windows overlooking the Manchester Ship canal where you can relax and watch the boats go by whilst enjoying delicious food.

There is a amazing deal offering a free children’s meal with every adult that dines. They will even match course for course so if you purchase three courses (and it is very easy to do with so many mouth-watering choices) then they also get the same too from the children’s menu.

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My little companion chose garlic bread, sausage and mash and ice cream. Everything was well presented and came piping hot.

The garlic bread was crispy on the outside and soft inside as it should be with just the amount of garlic.

The sausages were big , chunky and I am assured by Bailey (our tester) very tasty. The mash was a generous portion size, creamy with no lumps and the gravy which came in a tiny serving jug on the side of the plate was just the right consistency and tasted scrummy.

The ice cream was three scoops of different flavours with a flake on the top and was wolfed down so I guess another hit!

I noticed other children having the fish fingers and pizza dishes and their meals looked just as good as Bailey’s.

I also ate and I can honestly say everything was top notch.

Over all I would say the food and service at Pier Eight was exceptional with the added bonus of the children’s free meal it is well worth a visit.

Colouring activities and crayons are also provided.

The Lowry has free activities running everyday 11am – 3pm through until August 28th upstairs in the galleries and Lookout tower where all the family can get involved also.

The Gruffalo’s Child runs at The Lowry until 4 September with morning and afternoon performances. Find out more or book tickets here

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