Six months later we took her again and she loved it just as much ... and on that outing we discovered that the stage show is available on DVD. We are now on our second copy, having damaged/worn out the first.
The characters are played by actors so there is just a hint of who they are (for example, a furry cravat and tail for the fox) but it doesn't seem to bother the little ones. Each character has a great song - and the Gruffalo has two. With a running time of under an hour it is a great attention holder for the under 5's.
My only criticism is with the casting. The two productions I saw live had much better singers/actors in the parts. In particular the mouse on the DVD is neither as small nor as talented as the one we saw perform live. Hence the score of only 4 stars rather than 5.
One final point - This DVD is exactly the same as the one I purchased at the show which had a different cover. I'm not sure why it's called "2005" but if you already have a Gruffalo DVD then it's this one!
From start to finish this is a fantastic stage show, which works very well on DVD. My daughter and I love everything about it, so much so I have just ordered copies for everyone we know!
There is a cast of 3 - one as the mouse, one as most of the rest of the characters and finally one as the story teller/gruffalo. Each of the characters is brought to life through songs, which are simple enough for children to sing along with, and the characterisation of the animals is wonderfully done. The story never feels dragged out and the action never really stops until the closing credits. All the lines from the book are in there and if you have enjoyed reading the story to your children they will probably shout them out at the television.
I heartily recommend this to you 10/10
There are only 3 performers and the stage is sparse but the production is absolutely superb and probably better for it. The whole idea is to get the children to use their imagination and associate the book with what they are seeing unfold in front of them. For example, the mouse is simply dressed in a brown t-shirt, pedal pushers with pink trainers and looks (and acts) a bit like Bjork!
The story is faithfully followed and is stretched by six musical additions. The songs are catchy and instantly singable and reflect the characters beautifully. The Fox (Tweed jacket, flat cap and sideburns) performs a Madness-style bounce-around number, the Owl(Flying helmet and starched scarf) a regimental two-step and the Snake (Sombrero and fake moustache) an outrageous latin salsa.(All three, incidentally, played by the same actor).
The Gruffalo, when he finally appears, is as loveable a 'monster' that you are ever likely to meet and it is guaranteed that you will be hummming or singing one of his two songs long after the DVD is back in the box.
At only 50 minutes long (well would your kids sit still through anything longer in a theatre?) it is a tad expensive but even so, for entertainment and long-lasting appeal it is still worth every penny.
And go and see it live if you get the chance...