Wednesday 25 October 2017

Why The Whales Came Theatre Review at The Lowry (age 7+)

Why The Whales Came is a classic Michael Morpurgo children's book and today my 7 and 9 year olds and I were guests of The Lowry to review their first theatre performance by the amazing cast of one - storyteller Danyah Miller.

We were 15 minutes early and treated to a surprise game of giant Battleships. My boys were really into it, but sadly our purple/pink team lost by quite a margin. It was a great warm up to the show and I didn't realise it at the time, but as it ended and the lights went down, it became evident the Battleships compere was actually our Storyteller Danyah Miller herself.

Michael Morpurgo's well-loved story is that of two children and the scary hermit 'Birdman' who lives alone on a small nearby island. Why The Whales Came is set during the First World War and the realities of war hit home when one of the adults enlists. The children's lives could barely be more different from my own children's everyday, yet they are still children and their motivations are incredibly similar to my own children's.

Even within this 1 hour retelling, you can feel just how complex the characters are. There is real depth and backstory to consider and it paints a vivid picture. The 1914 setting is a world that no longer exists, yet it is incredibly easy to immerse yourself into.

Photo: The Lowry

Danyah Miller is an excellent storyteller. She brought the Why The Whales Came to life with a mixture of acting, voices, projection, puppetry, camera effects, props and good old standing on stage talking. Throughout the entire story, she made only one error and cheerily corrected herself. I make more mistakes reading a story directly from a book.

Lighting and projection were amazing and what seemed a relatively simple stage set became every location. There were hidden panels and cupboards everywhere. Different scale allowed for massive scenes and delicate detail to play out. There is even water in this show, with a stormy sea that had been completely concealed and enthralled my boys.

We all really enjoyed the performance. Danyah Miller wove her way through the tale and on stage she moved gracefully and moved everyone. My 9 year old asked me twice if I was crying, a sure sign that he had a lump in his throat too. Although there is some sadness, there is also joy, and the message that there is wealth far more valuable than money.

We went home very satisfied - the children clutching seashells given to them by Danyah. Why The Whales Came is being shown in The Quays Theatre, which is slightly smaller than The Lyric, but no less grand. Although it's only an hour long, the story is quite complex and deals with some more grown up emotions and concepts, so an excellent choice for families with children over 7.

Why The Whales Came is showing at The Lowry until this Sunday 29th October - there are daytime performances at 11am and 2pm each day and tickets are still available for all performances.

The Lowry also have several other shows and events running over half term including Slava's Snow Show and LEGO Mini Cruises. For more details and to book tickets see The Lowry website.

Our theatre tickets were free of charge for review.

1 comment:

  1. My oldest is a huge Michael Morpurgo fan. He's love this x


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