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Review: Tales Big Day Out, Chickenshed

All three of our family are partial to a bit of theatre, so it’s a real treat to be able to go and review plays together every now and again. And we all love a trip out to Chickenshed – a place that really warms the cockles of your heart with its bountiful, inclusive love and joy. We’ve recently found out that our three and a half year-old loves the theatre a bit more than my wife and I. Whereas we will very happily sit in obscurity, it turns out that he actually wants to be part of the…

Summary

Rating

Excellent

Tales Big Day Out takes over Chickenshed's theatre and workshop spaces for two hours full of inclusive fun - with song, dance and action, performances and workshops led by both disabled and able-bodied performers.

User Rating: 4.8 ( 1 votes)

All three of our family are partial to a bit of theatre, so it’s a real treat to be able to go and review plays together every now and again. And we all love a trip out to Chickenshed – a place that really warms the cockles of your heart with its bountiful, inclusive love and joy.

We’ve recently found out that our three and a half year-old loves the theatre a bit more than my wife and I. Whereas we will very happily sit in obscurity, it turns out that he actually wants to be part of the action! (I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised since we’ve been carting him around to all sorts of shows since he was in the womb).

When I explained on the drive up to the venue that he would merely be a spectator rather than a performer I’m not going to lie, there were a few tears (and some screaming). Fate finally accepted, we trouped into the theatre and to our surprise we were all seated on the stage with the performers, puppets and musical instruments. Suffice to say our boy’s day was made!

The show is two hours long, which is pretty long for a small child to stay engaged, but the performance was broken up by two half hour(ish) workshops. In the first the children learned a song and some sign language to allow everyone to participate in the grand finale, and in the second session some shadow puppetry. This engagement meant that we just about managed to keep our wee one focussed throughout (although admittedly he was rolling about all over the floor for the last 15 mins or so – which is absolutely fine at Chickenshed!)

The last time we came to a ‘Tales’ show, it was deep in the Covid era; they were unable to run the workshops and everyone had to sit in chairs to stop the spread of the ‘rona. This time around, the more relaxed environment and activities led by the performers made a massive difference to all of our enjoyment levels.

Tales Big Day Out has a very, very loose plot which is hard to describe other than to say it is basically an anarchic three and a half year-old’s dream as there are musicians and dancers, singing, and you are welcome to run on and off the stage and dance with gigantic fuzzy lions, tigers and ‘blughs’ without being told off. Hurrah!

I would say that this show is perfect for any smaller child (from babies until reception age) and very inclusive. It’s almost like a theatre stay and play. Our boy really enjoyed it and gave it all his fingers and toes up at the end (great praise indeed). I know that Chickenshed have loads of lovely shows on over the summer holidays as part of their Children’s Festival of Fun, including a rendition of Cinderella. I would highly recommend a visit for a fun day out for any families with small children.


Tales Big Day Out is on again at Chickenshed on 14 August, with performances at 11am and 2pm. Further information can be found here.

This event forms part of Chickenshed’s Children’s Festival of Fun, two weeks packed full of events for children aged from 0 to 11 years. Check the venue website here for further information.

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About Kate Woolgrove

Kate is a newcomer to London and currently wide-eyed in wonder at everything the city has to offer, including it’s incredible, diverse theatre scene. A PR / Communication executive by trade she’d been looking for an outlet to use her powers for good and producing honest, unbiased theatre reviews for Londoners seemed like just the ticket! When not immersed in culture at the theatre or scratching out a living in this wonderful (but ruinously expensive) city she’s usually to be found thoroughly investigating the dazzling array of drinking establishments in the capital or alternatively in the gym undoing all the damage she’s done.