REVIEW: Dear Zoo at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

Dear Zoo was staged at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: THEATRE ROYAL

Dear Zoo was staged at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: THEATRE ROYAL - Credit: Archant

They say never work with children or animals but Norwell Lapley Productions do both very well in bringing Rod Campbell’s timeless children’s book Dear Zoo to life on stage, writes MICHAEL STEWARD.

The beaming smile of my two-year-old daughter throughout the production of Dear Zoo – also one of her favourite books – tells the whole story really.

I had my reservations as to how a lift-the-flap book, which tells the story of a young boy who writes to the zoo requesting a pet, only to be sent a variety of unsuitable animals, was going to work at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds.

But as soon as Dear Zoo got going, it was clear that this was going to be a lot of fun.

After a brief introduction from Sam the zoo keeper, Ben (who had written to the zoo) and Sally bounded onto the stage and we followed the pair as each animal arrived in turn before being promptly sent back.

The elephant (too big), the giraffe (too tall), the camel (too grumpy) the lion (too fierce)... you probably know the rest and I won’t spoil the ending.

My own favourite, the monkey (too naughty) stole the show with a mischievous outing when released from his box, although my daughter plumped for the snake (too scary).

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Either way, the props were impressive, the cast was full of enthusiasm and each animal made for some great audience interaction.

Dear Zoo is touring until June at various theatres around the country and I would definitely recommend you take the family along if you get a chance.

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