It’s imaginative, a little bit scary, and ultimately a huge amount of fun – for children and adults. The Gruffalo, performed by the Tall Stories cast, is a charming and enchanting adaptation of the book by Julia Donaldson with illustrations by Axel Scheffler.
Published in 1999, Tall Stories adapted the book in 2001 as a show for children. The book and show quickly became children’s favourites, thanks to the delightful Gruffalo.
Actor Aaron Millard will be playing The Gruffalo in the upcoming Centrepointe Theatres production, and he loves it. “I absolutely adore this part,” says Millard. “And when I appear for the first time on stage as this huge roaring, furry beast, it keeps it real for the kids. I am The Gruffalo.”
Keeping it real also means keeping the life lessons real, and Millard says the youngsters watching the show – and their parents – really identify with the characters.
“Kids get great lessons about using your imagination, about being fearless and about friendship,” says Millard, “and they know the story cold.”
And he says parents get the subtle humour that is often laugh-out-loud funny. “For many kids, this is their first exposure to live theatre, so getting the audience involved is key.
“As performers, we want children to learn to love the theatre and enjoy the magic of a live performance.”
Millard was familiar with the book when he auditioned for the part. And his rendition of The Gruffalo’s big number got him the job. “I’ve got a fair amount of physical acting in my background,” he says, “and that really helps with this part.”
He says he knows he’s scored big as the Gruffalo, particularly when he goes to other auditions. “I get some fun reactions when they see my C.V.,” laughs Millard. “I’m pretty proud to say I’m The Gruffalo.”
Tall Stories has toured The Gruffalo extensively in the UK and has been a regular on the west end stage in London. They’ve successfully toured in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, France, Dubai and many other countries.
The company, founded by Olivia Jacobs and Toby Mitchell, is celebrating their 20th year in 2017 and brings The Gruffalo to Centrepointe Theatres on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. For information, visit www.tallstories.org.uk/the-gruffalo. For tickets: www.centrepointetheatre.com.