Sunday, 10 December 2017

Our Theatre Visit to see The Bear at Waterside, Sale - A Review

I have been so excited these past couple of weeks to take Riley to see The Bear, which is taking place at Waterside in Sale until the 6th January 2018. This was a new venue for us all to visit, having never ventured there before, so it was a nice opportunity to enjoy such a lovely production in this beautiful arts centre.

This was to be Riley's first real drama experience and I was a little nervous about how he would take to it, especially with it featuring "The Bear" in large puppetry form. I was a little anxious that he would be scared and demand to leave, however from start to finish, he was absolutely captivated by the whole performance.


On arrival we received a warm welcome from the friendly staff on reception and we made our way over to the cafe area to purchase a couple of cappuccino's and collect Riley's slumber pack. Evening performances are classed as slumber shows, where children can bring along a teddy, enjoy a slumber pack and even wear their pyjamas or onesie! The slumber pack is a really nice idea for younger guests and for a small charge of £2, children can collect a little brown paper bag, containing a carton of milk and a large cookie. Admittedly Riley did eat half of his cookie before the show even began, but it was nice for him to have an evening snack and drink whilst watching the show, which made him feel more relaxed and comfortable.

The entrance area was beautifully decorated with hues of blue and white, which were accompanied by paw prints decorating the floor. Once the doors to the auditorium opened, we followed the paw prints and found our seats, where we made ourselves comfortable for the show. The seating was nicely tiered which made it easy for little ones to see the main stage area without any complaints of not being able to see. The main character of Tilly walked amongst the seating with her teddy bear, taking the time to speak to the children and chat to their teddies too.

The Bear is based on the much loved story by Raymond Briggs and the theatrical adaptation has been brought to life by Pins & Needles productions. Although my older children had heard the story before, it was one that both Riley & I were less familiar with. We both looked excitedly at the set which was visible on the stage and wondered what would happen. After a short while, the show began and Riley immediately began to laugh at the opening performance of Tilly's band.

Photo credit: Jason Lock
The show features three cast members, Tilly, Mum & Dad, with all of them providing an entertaining and enthusiastic performance. Mum and Dad are also the puppeteers of the stunning Bear who comes to visit Tilly one night for lots of fun and frolics. Riley clung on tightly to his own teddy bear when The Bear first appeared on the stage, a little wary of his size and growl, however he soon settled back into the show giggling his way through the various antics that Tilly and her new best friend were getting up to.

We followed Tilly as she and The Bear explored the various rooms of her home, whilst playing hide and seek, enjoying a bath and dressing up. The set was very cleverly designed in that the same objects could be changed or turned to create new scenery. For example Tilly's bed also became the bath and sofa in other parts of the show. This also brought an element of magic to the performance, with Riley questioning just how they did it!

The Bear features the perfect mix of drama and comedic moments, that are subtly supported with enough emotion to bring a tear to your eye in the closing parts of the show. The production had suitable accompanying music, that matched the scenes being portrayed perfectly. From jovial catchy melodies, to eerie and gentle tunes, which were ideal for both the bears arrival and departure.

Riley was mesmorised from start to finish, just waiting to see what Tilly and The Bear would get up to next. It was great to see his reaction to certain moments in the show, as well as being able to hear all the other children in the audience enjoying the production too. There were parts where the children could call out, as well as a very funny scene that saw everyone laugh out loud, when Tilly ran into the audience with a very large......(well I will leave this as a suprise)!

Overall, we had a lovely experience watching The Bear, and found this to be the perfect introduction to theatre for Riley who is 4. I felt that it was just the right length of time to hold his attention and although he was a little nervous of The Bear to begin with, he thoroughly enjoyed the show and the fun and adventure that took place. He couldn't wait to tell his brother and sister about it this morning, which also shows that it has left a good impression with him, that he is keen to share with others. A lovely evening in a nice venue watching a beautiful wintry tale of fun and friendship. Perfect!

Photo credit: Jason Lock

The Bear will be at Waterside until Saturday 6th January 2018. There are both schools and public performances available and show times vary. For further information please visit thebearlive.com

Listing Details

Show - The Bear
Venue - Waterside, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF
Dates - 5th December 2017 to 6th January 2018, with preview, relaxed and BSL performances also available on selected dates. 
Times - Show times vary, so please see thebearlive.com for the most up to date information.
Box Office - 0161 912 5616
Ticket prices - £16.50/ £14.50/ £12.50
School tickets - £10 - 1 teacher goes free with every 9 students booked.
Running time - Approximately 60 minutes with no interval.


Disclaimer: We attended the show as guests for the purpose of providing a review. Opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.


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