Grove Theatre, Dunstable
1.00pm, 23 May 2015
A lovely live action version of the CBeebies show – a programme that is simply crying out for a stage version with a live audience.
Why you may ask?
Well, Tom is a normal boy until he puts on his magic belt and performs a sequence of action-movements known as Tree Fu moves which see him transform into a mighty super-hero.
When the programme is made, the animators can only hope that the watching youngsters will join in with the moves that help to save the day – live in the theatre, the actors can see it in the ultimate audience participation device.
The stage show brings plenty of opportunities for children to join in with these – and the adults too – if your child doesn’t mind – which ours does. Woe betide if her father or I sing, dance or even move a muscle during any show – looks could honestly kill!
In this version, Tom and his friends including Twigs and Ariela, all played by actors, go on an adventure through the magical world of Treetopolis.
After finding a dusty old map, Tom decides to see if it will take them to any hidden treasure – but it’s not an easy route to follow. They travel through wild weather and catch up with the mischievous Mushas who make trouble along the way.
There’s music and dancing throughout while the voices and the costumes were very like the TV show which stopped indignant young fans pointing out differences – which believe me they do if they see them!
All in all, this is one of the more successful TV to stage transitions – which let’s face it don’t always work – this one does!
I did think at time that maybe some of the action at the back of the stage, such as the leaf boat and the frog puppet – would have been more effective nearer to the front – especially with such a young audience.
But I appreciate there could have been many technical/design meetings about this and that there are extremely good reasons why these scenes were played where they were – and there is probably someone shouting out right now – what the heck does she know – but please calm yourselves – a good time was had by all!
V, aged 5, loved it – and even joined in with the moves herself – a sure sign of success!
For tour dates visit the Tree Fu Tom Live.
Running time: 90 minutes with a 20 minute interval.
Age range: Probably 3-7.
Other stuff: Activity programmes, DVDs, plush toys and dress-up costumes all for sale in the foyer.