Tall Stories venture into the deep dark wood for ‘scary fun’ in The Gruffalo’s Child at York Theatre Royal from Thursday

Harriet Waters and Maxwell Tyler in illustrator Axel Scheffler’s “favourite moment” from Tall Stories’ stage adaptation of The Gruffalo’s Child. Picture: Charlie Flint

THE Gruffalo’s Child will be on an adventurous mission at York Theatre Royal from February 1 to 3 in in Tall Stories’ enchanting adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s picture book.

One wild and windy night, the Gruffalo’s Child ignores her father’s warnings about the Big Bad Mouse and tiptoes out into the deep dark wood, where she will follow snowy tracks and encounter mysterious creatures.

But the Big Bad Mouse doesn’t really exist…or does he? “Let your imagination run wild with songs, laughs and scary fun for everyone aged 3 to 103,” reads the invitation from director Olivia Jacobs, co-founder of Islington company Tall Stories, whose cast comprises Harriet Waters, Maxwell Tyler, Samuel Tracy and understudy Pip Simpson.  

Harriet Waters and Samuel Tracy in a scene from Tall Stories’ The Gruffalo’s Child. Picture: Charlie Flint

After seeing her book brought to life on stage, writer Julia Donaldson said: “Tall Stories bring their own special magic to their stage productions based on my books. Children will love entering the atmosphere of the deep dark wood and enjoy the catchy songs. The Big Bad Mouse is worth waiting for.” Ah, too late for a spoiler alert!

Illustrator Axel Scheffler enjoyed the show, saying afterwards: “The snowy deep dark wood based on my illustrations is brought to life by Tall Stories and it almost becomes a character in its own right in their production. A favourite moment for me is when the Gruffalo’s Child sits on the Gruffalo’s lap and the book cover image is created on the stage. I think the young audience will enjoy it very much.”

Tall Stories in The Gruffalo’s Child, York Theatre Royal, February 1, 1.30pm and 4.30pm; February 2, 1pm (relaxed performance) and 4.30pm; February 3, 10.30am and 1.30pm. Running time: 60 minutes. Age guidance: 3+. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.