I must be really late to the party as I've only just found Anthony Browne's book Gorilla. What a lovely story and what a great job The Polka Theatre has done bringing it to the stage! We saw it on Saturday and had such a lovely time. For anyone who doesn't know it's about a little girl who has a rather big obsession with Gorillas. She thinks about them every waking and (non waking) moment. On the eve her her birthday she goes to bed with just one wish, to get a REAL Gorilla for her birthday. Her disappointment when she opens her present in the middle of the night to find that it's a toy gorilla is very physical, she throws it across the room and returns back to sleep. Only to be woken, not too long after by her toy gorilla who is now fully grown and who offers to take her to the zoo. And there starts a wonderful moonlit night of friendship and adventure between Hannah and the Gorilla; where they share a trip to the zoo, a visit to the cinema and a birthday tea together where Hannah can choose whatever she likes from the menu in unlimited quantities.
I loved the relaxed nature of the show - it's in the very intimate Adventure Theatre at the Polka and the kids can sit on the carpet right in front of the action. There are a few benches towards the back that people can sit on but it's nice to feel a part of the show. It's a two person show and both actors also do the puppeteering and all set moving. They were both fantastically skilled and had a lovely chemistry. I asked Isla what she liked best and she said she liked it when the Gorilla grew big, which is actually when the parts of Hannah and the gorilla are played by the puppets. So even though Hannah and the Gorilla are small as puppets, she grasped that the Gorilla had grown.
We also loved the part when Hannah and the gorilla go to the zoo and they look out into the audience and make out that we're the gorillas! On each side of the set were the haunting faces of the Orangutan and Chimpanzee from the book, both looking so very sad. There is a great song, 'Cherry on Top' during the birthday meal that Hannah and the Gorilla have and you can listen and download it here Both of mine loved it.
We couldn't fault this show at all, it stays completely faithful to the book and brings it to life just how I would expect it to. For us this is a must see and we're looking forward to returning to the Polka Theatre for more fabulous productions in the near future!
Gorilla is on at The Polka Theatre until February. The running time is 45 minutes and the recommended age is 2 - 5 year olds
We were given free tickets to see Gorilla in order to give this review but all views expressed are my own.