FROM the page to the stage, this timeless tale is as enchanting as ever.

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler favourite The Gruffalo returns to theatres, this time with his fearless daughter in tow and this week’s show at Nuffield Southampton Theatres makes the perfect half term treat.

Surrounded by parents bringing their toddlers to experience their first taste of theatre, plus a smattering of just as enthusiastic older children enjoying the break, the story had them gripped from the start.

My theatre and book loving three-year-old took all of three seconds to laugh out loud at the antics of the very loudly snoring Gruffalo who unsuccessfully attempts to put his little one to bed - and put her off visiting the Deep Dark Wood.

Leaving Dad behind once he has nodded off again, the Gruffalo’s Child heads off in search of the Big Bad Mouse with only her Stick Man, almost an additional character in the play whereas only deserving of a passing mention in the book, for company.

She meets the usual woodland characters along the way, snake, owl and mouse, culminating in the moonlit transformation of mouse into a giant. The shadow creature is pitched just right with shining red eyes so as not to terrify the more timid toddlers.

There are a cast of just three playing all the characters, but the staging never appears sparse. The costumes are creative and the songs real singalong delights, which will have you tapping your toes and clapping your hands all the way home.

This hour long theatre version of the second book in the much-loved series is truly the topping on the Gruffalo Crumble.


The Gruffalo’s Child runs until Saturday. Tickets: 023 8067 1771 or