The Snail and the Whale is a charming stage adaptation of the award-winning story The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler (the creators ofThe Gruffalo) and it’s playing at the Arts Centre Melbourne these school holidays Wednesday 29 June to Sunday 10 July.
We were invited to see the show and everyone – from grandparents to me to 5 year old Lady AB – enjoyed it.
It’s not a straight re-telling of the book but instead turns the tale of the tiny snail’s journey into a bigger story about love, loss and adventure.
In the production, the story of The Snail and the Whale is told through the eyes of a girl looking back on her childhood, when she dreamt of travelling the world with her father who worked out at sea. The set design is sophisticated yet fun, with household furniture transformed into various scenes and characters, just like how a child would engage in imaginative play.
The 55 minute performance features songs (including a live viola player producing music and sound effects using an effects pedal), slapstick comedy, audience participation and good spray of water! Elements of the book are still recognisable, with familiar words and scenes as the snail and the humpback whale meet penguins and sharks and visit icebergs and volcanoes.
The Snail and the Whale is a gorgeous heart-warming adaptation of a children’s modern classic. It is billed for being suitable for ages four and up and I think that’s accurate. There were many younger children in the audience but because the storyline is not as linear as the book so it may be a bit harder to follow for younger children and I doubt that they would understand some of the nuances in the multi-layered storytelling. I’m not confident 3 year old Baby 2.0 would have been able to sit still for the whole show and there was a distinct restlessness amongst the younger members of the audience.
I, for one, was enthralled and I had a tear in my eye at the end.
- No prams allowed, pram parking available at box office;
- Go snail spotting in the foyer of Fairfax Studio before you go in;
- performance goes for 55 minutes, no interval;
- Suitable for 4+ years; and
- Easiest parking is Arts Centre Carpark – arrive before 10am for $16 early bird on a weekday.
- Read more: Tips for going to the theatre with young children and things to do in Melbourne CBD this winter.