Showing posts with label Zog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zog. Show all posts

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Zog Live on Stage at Storyhouse Chester - A Review

My youngest child Riley absolutely loves a trip to the theatre and since introducing him gradually to various kinds of shows over the past couple of years, it has become one of his favourite activities to do as a family.

We are very fortunate to have the beautiful Storyhouse venue only ten minutes away from our home and it has been great to see Chester welcome some wonderful productions since it's opening. Their calendar this year has everything from musicals to comedy performances, but this weekend we were very excited to attend a family friendly theatre production of Zog, based on the bestselling book by Julia Donaldson, with illustrations by Axel Scheffler. The show has been produced by Freckle Productions and Rose Theatre Kingston and features puppets that have been designed and created by Little Angel Theatre co-founder Lyndie Wright.



On our arrival to Storyhouse in Chester, we found it bustling with families, all ready to enjoy the show. There were children everywhere excitedly waiting for the performance to begin, some of whom had brought their own copies of the book or cuddly toys with them. It was a lovely relaxed atmosphere and I was aware of the fact that for some of the children, it could be their very first time at the theatre.

As we entered the auditorium, my children were provided with a Zog sticker each, which Riley was particularly happy with. So much so, that he also asked his brother and sister for theirs too! We found our seats in the middle of Row P which offered a fantastic view, so we had no issues at all with Riley not being able to see and we also did not require a booster seat.


The stage adaptation of the book is suitable for children and families of all ages. It tells the story of Zog, who is large in size and very keen in nature. He is eager to win a golden star at Madam Dragon's school, where dragons learn all the things that dragons need to know. Zog tries so very hard, perhaps too hard, and he bumps, burns and roars his way through years one, two and three. Luckily the plucky Princess Pearl patches him up, ready to face his biggest challenge yet.......a duel with a knight, Sir Gadabout the Great.

Zog has been produced by Freckle Productions and Rose Theatre Kingston, featuring puppets that have been designed and created by Little Angel Theatre co-founder Lyndie Wright. It has been adapted and directed by Mike Shepherd and features an original folk score by Johnny Flynn and designs by Katie Sykes.

Riley found the stage show to be a magical adaptation and from the moment the show began, he was mesmerised as both actors and creative puppets came to life with a lovely musical accompaniment. The puppetry was imaginative and the musicians both comical and skilled, as we were gradually introduced to Zog's world and his quest for the golden star. My son Riley hadn't expected to hear singing throughout the show and when Princess Pearl (Emily Benjamin) began to sing, he quietly whispered in my ear "Well that was a lovely surprise!"

Photo credit: Helen Maybanks

The cast featured Elliot Mackenzie in his professional debut as Zog; Emily Benjamin (Bat Out of Hell) as Princess Pearl; Robert Ginty (Salome and Coriolanus, Royal Shakespeare Company) as Sir Gadabout the Great; Euan Wilson (Stick Man, UK Tour) as Madame Dragon; and Dixie McDevitt (National Youth Theatre alumni) as Ensemble.

All of them were funny and engaging, as well as being highly talented, as they provided an entertaining performance consisting of drama, music, dance and puppetry. Children amongst the audience were giggling right from the opening scene, which soon turned into loud laughter later in the show, once we were introduced to Sir Gadabout the Great. He delivered an hilarious act along with a memorable song, that my son Riley has been singing at home ever since.

There was an equal combination of the use of puppets and actors and I felt that this worked well. The actors ensured that there was a connection with the audience, as well as interaction in parts, whilst the puppets added a magical element that delighted the children, especially when the dragons began to fly. The puppets themselves were absolutely stunning and have clearly been created with care and attention to detail, with striking colours and friendly faces.

One thing that I particularly enjoyed about the show, was the way that it had been paced. It was fast moving and entertaining, which ensured that even the youngest of children could remain focused and interested in what was happening on stage. I have found in the past that Riley can become disengaged if there is too much dialogue, but this show provided the perfect mix of words and song, which meant that any potential for boredom, was kept firmly away.

Photo credit: Helen Maybanks

Overall, we found this show to be a wonderful adaptation of a book that we know and love. It is the perfect introduction to theatre for children and we saw plenty of babies and toddlers in attendance too. The running time is just short of an hour, which means that it is the perfect length of time to keep children interested and amused. The cast are an excellent example of skilled performers who ensure that the story is told in an entertaining and comical manner, as well as presenting themselves as very likeable characters. My six year old loved it and is looking forward to telling his friends all about it!

I would also like to add that from a venue persepective, I was very impressed by how attentive the Storyhouse staff were to the children in attendance. From welcoming smiles, friendly chats and the handing out of stickers, we found everyone to be extremely courteous and professional in providing a family-friendly theatre environment.

For more information on Zog Live and the upcoming tour locations, you can visit the Freckle Productions website or their social media pages on the following channels:

Website - https://www.freckleproductions.co.uk/
Facebook - facebook.com/FreckleProductions/
Twitter - @Freckle_Prods
Instagram - @freckle_productions

To find out more about Storyhouse then you can visit their website or social media on the following channels:

Website - www.storyhouse.com
Facebook - facebook.com/storyhouselive
Twitter - @storyhouselive
Instagram - @storyhouselive

Photo credit: Helen Maybanks

Disclaimer: We were provided with complimentary tickets for the purpose of writing an honest review of the show. All opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. 

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Zog Flies Into Storyhouse, Chester from the 5th-7th April 2019 - Preview

My family and I are huge fans of books written by Julia Donaldson and all three of my children have grown up enjoying her wonderful stories of fun and adventure. We were therefore really excited to learn more about the hotly anticipated family stage show of Zog, which will be flying into Storyhouse in Chester, next week!

Tickets are on sale now for this wonderful production of Zog, which is based on the book by Julia Donaldson with illustrations by Axel Scheffler. The show is currently embarking on a UK tour, which started earlier this month in Leeds and it will be at Storyhouse from Friday 5th of April to Sunday 7th April for a total of six performances.


The stage adaptation of the book is suitable for children and families of all ages. It will tell the story of Zog who is large in size and very keen in nature. He is eager to win a golden star at Madam Dragon's school, where dragons learn all the things that dragons need to know. Zog tries so very hard, perhaps too hard, and he bumps, burns and roars his way through years one, two and three. Luckily, the plucky Princess Pearl patches him up ready to face his biggest challenge yet.....a duel with a knight, Sir Gadabout the Great!

The world of Zog will be brought to life on stage by a skilled team of actor-puppeteers, using handcrafted puppets that have been designed and created by Little Angel Theatre co-founder Lyndie Wright. It is adapted and directed by Mike Shepherd (founder and artistic director of Kneehigh), with an original folk score by Johnny Flynn (currently starring in True West in the West End), and designs by Katie Sykes (Jane Eyre at the National Theatre).

Photo credit: Helen Maybanks

The cast features Elliot Mackenzie (professional debut) as Zog; Emily Benjamin (Bat Out Of Hell) as Princess Pearl; Robert Ginty (Salome and Coriolanus, Royal Shakespeare Company) as Sir Gadabout the Great; Euan Wilson (Stick Man, UK Tour) as Madame Dragon; and Dixie McDevitt  (National Youth Theatre alumni) as Ensemble.

Zog is produced by Freckle Productions and Rose Theatre Kingston. Freckle Productions' most recent show is Tabby McTat, an adaptation of the book by Julia Donaldson, following their acclaimed productions of Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales and Stick Man.

Completing the creative team are movement director Tom Jackson Greaves (Billionaire Boy, UK Tour), lighting designer Ric Mountjoy (The Play that Goes Wrong), sound designer Julian Starr (Violet, Charing Cross Theatre), puppet designer Lyndie Wright (Little Angel Theatre), puppet director Sarah Wright (Kneehigh's Brief Encounter), and movement and circus consultant Tina Koch.

Tickets for this wonderful production are on sale now, priced at £16 for adults and £14 for children. Each ticket is also subject to a booking fee of £1.50. Group rates are also available.

Photo credit: Helen Maybanks

Listing Details

Show: Zog
Venue: Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 2AR
Dates: Friday 5th April to Sunday 7th April 2019
Times: Friday 5th April - 4:30pm / Saturday 6th April - 11am, 2pm, 4pm / Sunday 7th April 11am, 2pm.
Tickets: Adults £16 / Children £14 - each ticket is subject to a £1.50 booking fee / Group 10+ £12.50 each.
Duration - Approximately 1 hour.
Booking: This can be done online at www.storyhouse.com, by calling 01244 409113 or by visiting the ticket kiosks at Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 2AR

For further details you can visit the Storyhouse website, or their social media pages on the following channels:

Website - www.storyhouse.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/storyhouselive
Twitter - @storyhouselive
Instagram - @storyhouselive

Photo credit: Helen Maybanks

*Disclaimer - This post has been written based on a press release provided by BEA.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Dates for your Diary - World Premiere Stage Adaptation of Zog Comes to Storyhouse, Chester in April

Freckle Productions and Rose Theatre Kingston are delighted to announce the world premiere stage adaptation of Zog, based on the book by Julia Donaldson with illustrations by Axel Scheffler, which will fly into Storyhouse, Chester from Friday 5th April to Sunday 7th April on its first ever UK Tour.

Large in size and keen in nature, Zog is so eager to win a golden star at Madam Dragon's school, where dragons learn all the things that dragons need to know. Zog tries so very hard, perhaps too hard, and he bumps, burns and roars his way through years one, two and three. Luckily, the plucky Princess Pearl patches him up ready to face his biggest challenge yet....a duel with a knight, Sir Gadabout the Great! Zog promises to be roaring fun for all ages.


Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's much-loved Zog is adapted and directed by Mike Shepherd (founder and Artistic Director of Kneehigh) with an original folk score by Johnny Flynn (award-winning actor and singer-songwriter with The Sussex Wit) played live on stage. It is designed by Katie Sykes (Jane Eyre at the National Theatre, A Monster Calls at The Old Vic).

Zog is produced by Freckle Productions, whose most recent production is Tabby McTat, an adaptation of the book by Julia Donaldson, following their acclaimed productions of Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales and Stick Man.

Julia Donaldson said today: "I'm tremendously excited that Zog will be taking flight around the UK in this first ever stage production. Going to the theatre can be a truly magical experience, I know it will be such a thrill to see the world of Zog being brought to life on stage."

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are the UK's number one picture book pair and are creators of many modern classics, including The Gruffalo which is in 75 languages.

Zog was first published in 2010 and won the Galaxy National Children's Book of the Year Award. It has gone on to become a perennial bestseller. For Christmas 2018, Magic Light Pictures will premiere an animated film of Zog on BBC One featuring an all-star cast, following their award-winning films such as The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and Stick Man.

Suitable for children and families of all ages.

For further information you can visit the Zog Live website or alternatively their social media pages which can be found on the following channels:

Website: www.ZogLive.com
Twitter: @Freckle_Prods
Facebook: www.facebook.com/FreckleProductions
Instagram: @Freckle_Productions

Listing Details

Show - Zog
Venue - Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR
Date - Friday 5th April 2019 to Sunday 7th April 2019
Times - Various performance times, please visit the website for more information.
Ticket Prices - Prices vary, please visit the website for more information.
Box Office - 01244 409113
Website - www.storyhouse.com