Thank goodness there are theatre companies such as Patch bringing creative and fun adaptations of children’s books to Adelaide families. For a limited time, Nick Bland’s The Very Cranky Bear comes to life as Cranky Bear at Norwood’s Odeon Theatre, and if the next shows are anything like the opening one, you’d be wise to book now so you don’t miss out.
Stephen Sheehan, Jude Henshall and Tim Overton rock the show with their renderings of a truly funny moose, a fantastically funky lion, an incredibly energetic zebra, an awfully adorable sheep and one very cranky bear. They are fine musicians and delightful actors, and they bring joy and laughter to the already dazzling stage.
The play follows the book pretty well, with four friends hoping to stay out of the rain in the “jingle, jangle jungle” and, in the process, bothering a very cranky bear who is trying to sleep in his warm cave. As one little boy from the audience said as he sat on stage, “be kind” – because kindness is all the cranky bear really needs. It’s a lovely message and both parents and children will enjoy the way it’s communicated.
The Patch Theatre Company suggests the show is for ages four to eight, but I think you might expand that to include three-year-olds. If they’ve had the book read to them, they’ll follow along just fine. And those who haven’t had the book read to them should follow along just fine, too, because it’s a simple story with likable characters.
But be warned: this show will make you want to read and re-read the book!
Patch Theatre is presenting Cranky Bear at Odeon Theatre in Norwood again on August 16 (1pm and 3.30pm) and 23 (3.30pm only).
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