REVIEW: Just So Stories, Stephen Joseph Theatre

Jim (Dan Henley) and Mrs Brady The Cleaning Lady (Catherine Lamb) pictured during the Just So Stories at the SJT
Jim (Dan Henley) and Mrs Brady The Cleaning Lady (Catherine Lamb) pictured during the Just So Stories at the SJT

The Just So Stories may be over a hundred years old, but families looking for a fun, new version of the tales should head to the Stephen Joseph Theatre this summer.

Rudyard Kipling's stories were written in 1902 and have been entertaining generations of children, but Vicky Ireland's unique adaptation at the SJT, aimed at the six+ audience, has given a fresh twist on the classic text.

Making the short stroll to the theatre on a damp summer Saturday afternoon with my young daughters, aged five and eight, we settled into our seats in the McCarthy, unsure of what treats awaited us.

The hour-long play sees Mrs Brady the Cleaning Lady (Catherine Lamb), Mrs Pett the Usherette (Cate Hamer), and doorkeeper Jim (Dan Henley) tell the audience of four tales of how animals developed the form they now have, as well as a new tale about bats that give the younger members of the audience to get involved.

The simple format sees the three actors uses an array of everyday objects as props, from a ladder to a vacuum cleaner, to keep the audience entertained with stories and songs as the cast are all out eating fish and chips on the foreshore.

Catherine Lamb gets the young audience involved with her energetic performance as Mrs Brady, especially as the Elephant's Child, while Dan Henley is great as the grumpy Camel and the irritated Rhino, and Cate Hamer expertly delivers a wide range of animal noises/voices throughout the play as well as showing off some great artistic skills with her drawings of the animals before and after their transformations.

The length of the show is ideal for the age of the target audience, with both my daughters enthralled by the production, and families looking for an entertaining diversion during the summer holidays should seek out this play.

Tickets, costing £12.50 for an adult, and £8 per child, are available from the SJT box office, and the Just So Stories are showing at the theatre until August 27.

Other showings

12 July, 10am

13 July, 10am

16 July, 2.15pm

19 July, 10am

20 July, 10am

21 July, 10am

23 July, 6.45pm

26 July, 2.15pm

27 July, 11am

27 July, 2.15pm

28 July, 2.15pm

29 July, 11am

29 July, 2.15pm

30 July, 11am

30 July, 2.15pm

3 August, 11am

3 August, 2.15pm

4 August, 11am

5 August, 11.00am

6 August, 6.45pm

8 August, 2.15pm

9 August, 11am

9 August, 2.15pm

10 August, 11am

15 August, 6.45pm

16 August, 11am

16 August, 2.15pm

17 August, 2.15pm

18 August, 2.15pm

23 August, 11am

23 August, 2.15pm

24 August, 11am

24 August, 2.15pm

25 August, 11am

26 August, 11am

26 August, 6.45pm

27 August, 2.15pm