Preview: Bank Holiday week family shows

The Girl With The Iron Claws

The Girl With The Iron Claws - Credit: Archant

The magic of the theatre is perfect for family entertainment. SIMON PARKIN looks at shows for all ages this Bank Holiday week.


Norwich Puppet Theatre, May 4, 11am/2.30pm, £7.50 (£6 cons), £5.50 children, £22 family, 01603 629921,

Goody and Storey, regular performers at Norwich Puppet Theatre, return with this lighthearted and touching tale of friendship, needlework and botany.

Join the green-fingered Gardener and the tidy Tailor who live at opposite ends of the world. All they share is a bright star glittering in the sky above them. One sad day this star disappears.

As the Gardener and the Tailor search high and low for the star, they find something even more amazing and unexpected...

For the first time they see each other and a dazzling new world is revealed. But will their star ever return?

Most Read

Acclaimed, this is a show that's a perfect Bank Holiday treat for families with younger children offering a first experience of the theatre tailor-made for 2-5 year olds.


Norwich Arts Centre, May 5, 2pm, £8 (£6 cons), 01603 660352,

Lyngo Theatre Company has built up a strong reputation for small scale family shows that are full of big ideas and are favourites in Norwich.

Tom Thumb is a one-man show aimed at children over five which has toured Britain and Italy since 2003 and has become one of the company's favourites. It is a story about being afraid. 'How can you sleep? I can't. It must be because I'm scared.' says Tom to his six elder brothers when he hears the ogre coming up the stairs.

It is a story about hunger, which Toms' parents know all about as they try to lose their own children in the forest. It is also a story about playing and about being curious, which Tom does better than anybody.

Written by Marcello Chiarenza it is being performed on this latest visit by Patrick Lynch with original music by Carlo 'Cialdo' Capelli.


Norwich Theatre Royal, May 5, 2.30pm/7.30pm, £15.50-£5.50, 01603 630000,

The latest Theatre Royal production from Norwich's Heather Millan School of Dance and Performing Arts follows Dotty as she sets off in search of a better life on a quest to solve the legend of the Silver Birch.

But her journey isn't a straight forward. Her mystical tour sees her encounter colourful characters such as Dotty, Pin Man, Scarycrow and Dandy Lion, alongside a talented cast of singers and dancers making this an explosive production for all the family.

The show is a real family affair, it has been written by Heather Millan's daughter Sarah, and the cast stars students from the school aged between three and 80 – including Sarah's daughters Georgia, 19, who teaches there, and Jessie-Mae, 13, who is a student. The school's show are always full of energy and enthusiasm.


Norwich Playhouse, May 8, 7.30pm, £10 (£8 cons), 01603 598598,

Every August, the Norwich Playhouse programmers travel up to Edinburgh and throw themselves into the mêlée that is the Fringe Festival. Their objective – to hand pick the very best shows.

Two amazing pieces of theatre coming soon are results having wowed audiences and won critical acclaim. In June, Theatre Témoin present The Fantasist, an enthralling mix of puppetry, music and physical theatre.

But first next week is The Girl with the Iron Claws — a fairytale for grown-ups and older children that is as boldly inventive in its storytelling as it is ironic and subversive in its humour (which some reviewers have compared to Shrek).

It tells the tale of a girl who dares to follow her longing. The youngest daughter of a king feels like a misfit then, one night, a compelling dream leads her deep into the forest, where a chance encounter sets her on a fateful path.

This coming-of-age theatre production was a sell-out success in Edinburgh. Featuring stunning puppetry, enchanting music and deft humour, the play shares its roots with Beauty and the Beast. Suitable for over-12s.


The Garage, Chapelfield North, Norwich, May 9, 7.30pm, £7.50, under-25s £5, 01603 630000,

This is a new show by Fringe First Award winning comedian and theatre maker Laura Mugridge – who once created a show in a campervan called Running on Air – in collaboration with Katy Schutte and Tom Adams, with live music. 'This is a true story that I made up,' says Laura of her production, a fantastical journey into the underwater world of Nereus, a demi-god of myth and legend, who yearns to return to the sea.

Nereus is known as the Old Man of the Sea, a divinity who helps sailors in distress. Here he is an elderly lighthouse keeper who lives with his wife Mariana. As the journey unfolds, the show takes numerous comedy detours, charming the audience with maritime facts and quirky asides, including everything from the shipping forecast to Van Halen. The show has received glowing reviews for Mugridge's charming, understated storytelling aimed at families. Expect a small scale epic tale of love, gods, sea creatures, an impromptu rave scene and a nautical jumper.