The Snail and the Whale

Malvern Theatres


Hop on board a gigantic humpback whale; you don’t know who you might meet around the world. A ninja crab or a tai chi octopus? Join Tall Stories on their adventure at Malvern Theatres and dive right in with The Snail and the Whale.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of this magical Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler publication, Tall Stories’ adaptation is inspired by Storybook Soldiers, who enable British military personnel serving abroad to record bedtime stories for their children at home.

An interesting backstory which brings everything together wonderfully and keeps a fast pace so the young adventurers are kept entertained throughout.

On entering the Forum Theatre the audience were intrigued by viola player Rachel Benson who is the narrator of the show, then the daughter with itchy feet, Hannah Miller, jumps into the audience, crawls under people’s legs and hides from her dad, Tim Hibberd.

With fabulous audience interaction Hibberd runs up and down the auditorium trying without much luck to uncover the hiding place of Miller but the audience try to confuse him until she is finally discovered ready for bedtime and tickles.

Directed by Toby Mitchell we hide behind our fingers as the sharks circle, try to waddle like penguins, discover facts about icebergs like only 10 per cent of an iceberg is visible above the surface of the ocean and watch the effects of bicarbonate soda with malt vinegar to explosive volcanic reactions.

When the whale is rescued after getting beached the fire-fighters use super soakers to keep the whale cool and the audience end up being refreshed and cooled down too, much to the delight of the squealing masses.

Tim Hibberd makes everyone giggle, young and old and plays the dad brilliantly engaging with sea creatures and humans alike.

My first Tall Stories experience was The Snow Dragon on Christmas Eve last year at Birmingham Hippodrome which was magical and this show certainly lived up to their high standards when it comes to entertaining the whole family in an interactive and inventive way.

The Snail and The Whale head off to Exeter (7th and 8th July,Northcott Theatre 01392 726363) and return to the Midlands at Stafford Gatehouse, 17-17 August, then Derby 1-3 November.

Emma Trimble


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