Reviewed by Kathryn Harrison
We’re Going On A Bear Hunt is celebrating its 30th birthday this year, the classic story of a family going on an adventure to discover a bear is one most families will be familiar with. To celebrate this anniversary the stage production is going back on tour 10 years after it first enchanted audiences. If you live in the North West you’re in luck because the production is spending the summer holidays in The Quays Theatre at The Lowry in Salford, Manchester.
We’re Going On A Bear Hunt is a favourite in our house, we’ve been reading it since my eldest daughter was born and now my youngest daughter loves it just as much. They were both very excited about going to see the live show and have been talking about it nonstop since I told them we were going. We headed to Salford this afternoon feeling very excited.
When we arrived at The Lowry we were greeted by many smiling faces sporting bear ears which immediately got the girls in the mood for fun. We took our seats in the auditorium and waited for the show to begin. The show began with the actors entering from behind us and made their way onto the stage, this entrance set the tone for the entire play, full of fun with lots of interaction with the audience.
There were four actors on stage, Hannah Donelon was brilliant as girl, capturing the essence of an excited child wonderfully. Artie Godden was playing the part of Dad, Benjamin Mowbray as Boy and Benjamin Hills playing the character of Buddy the dog as well as playing a multitude of musical instruments. The show followed the story of the book but added some fabulous songs and music. It was this music that made the show so wonderful, each part of the story had its own music which matched each environment perfectly. The set and props used throughout the performance are simple everyday objects that wouldn’t have had the same impact without this musical score.
The simplicity of the set added to the charm of this show and my eldest daughter, who is nearly seven, loved seeing what everyday objects the cast would use to create the various environments. Her favourite was when they used towels and tubs to construct the deep, cold river. This really sparked her imagination and creativity. However, I think this use of imagery went over my two year old daughters head a little, she couldn’t quite understand what the set was supposed to represent. Despite this though she still found the thick, oozy mud scene absolutely hilarious, I think it reached out to her love of mess!
After a fabulous hour watching the performance we headed up to The Lookout where there were craft activities, books and dressing up for the children to enjoy. My daughters loved making bear masks. Each day in August there will be a different activity for families to enjoy. As well as this there are bears hidden throughout The Lowry theatre and Lowry shopping centre each one telling us facts about bears which provided the answers to the questions on the quiz sheet we were given. The girls really enjoyed doing their very own bear hunt and it gave us a good few hours of fun.
We had a great afternoon watching the show and completing the related activities. The show was funny and engaging and had all three of us giggling. It was the perfect school holiday activity for the whole family. I would recommend this show to all families.
Tickets cost from £10 (booking fees may apply).
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is at The Lowry in Manchester from 3 August to 1 September 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000