Mumbler Reviews York

Theatre & Show Reviews

Zog and the Flying Doctors

Guest Review by Local York Mumbler, Ellen

York Mumbler Ellen and her 6 year old son Archie recently went to see Zog and the Flying Doctors at York Theatre Royal. Find out what they thought about it!

Zog - Ellen & ArchieThe Story
Based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s bestselling sequel, Zog and the Flying Doctors follow Zog, a hilariously mild-mannered dragon, who is now a keen student turned air-ambulance helping his friends, Princess Pearl and Sir Gadabout. The flying doctor trio care for creatures including a mermaid, a unicorn and a sneezy lion. However when bad weather forces them to land at the palace, Princess Pearl is locked up by her uncle, the king. We were excited to see how Freckle Productions would bring this story to life on stage.

The Show
The show begins with Zog and the flying doctors in puppet form soaring through the sky before Zog himself appears! Archie thought he was amazing! The super talented cast of six entertained a theatre full of excited children for the next hour. The cast took on multiple roles and all had really impressive singing voices.

Zog and the Flying Doctors 11 Mark Senior

Credit: Mark Senior


The show is full of dancing, singing and clever puppetry. The story is quite fast paced although there is a good mix of upbeat and more reflective moments in the show when the lion, mermaid and the unicorn sing solos about their medical troubles. Audience participation is encouraged throughout and my son loved shouting at the pantomime style villain the King. The final song ‘If it wasn’t for you’ was a heart warming ending and celebrated the talents of the characters.

Just like Julia Donaldson’s story of The Smeds and The Smoos, which we were lucky enough to review early this year, this story too comes with a special message.  In this case, that children can grow up to be whatever they want to be. We would really recommend this fantastic Freckle Productions of Zog and the Flying Doctors.

Useful Links & Information
Zog and the Flying Doctors have three performances at York Theatre Royal on Saturday 25th June at 11.00am, 2.00pm and 4.30pm. The show is approximately 1 hour long (no interval) Book your tickets here.
Find out everything that’s going on at York Theatre Royal in the coming months on their website.
For more Mumbler reviews of the shows and attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.
Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given complimentary tickets for ‘Zog and the Flying Doctors’ at York Theatre Royal in exchange for an honest review.

Unbelievable Science at York Theatre Royal: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Jane

On Saturday afternoon we went to York Theatre Royal to see Morgan & West’s brand new show… Unbelievable Science! Find out what we thought in our review below.Theatre Royal Review York

We enjoyed a nice treat on Saturday afternoon with a visit to York Theatre Royal to see Unbelievable Science. With two 9 year old’s in tow, we grabbed our 3D glasses on the way in and waited for the show to start! We were hoping to see experiments, explosions and plenty of mind-bending tricks and we weren’t disappointed!

About the show

Morgan & West are one of the most recognisable conjuring acts around! Plus they hide a secret… they are both Oxford graduates with degrees in physics and chemistry and are fully qualified secondary school teachers!

Audiences can expect captivating chemistry, phenomenal physics, and bonkers biology in this fun for all the family science extravaganza! Fires, explosions, lightning on stage, optical illusions, mass audience experiments, and 3D shadow puppets await all those wily enough to come along and be intrigued by science.

In the age of ‘so-called experts’ Morgan & West felt it was time to bring families together to marvel and wonder at science and nature, provoking questions and discussions as to how things work and what regular people themselves can learn from it.

Unbelievable, believable science!

The show started with 7 great reaction experiments with some pretty impressive colour changes happening! That was followed by plenty more scientific fun, including messing with sounds and 3D through our eyes and ears!

Our favourite part was the cardboard box trick! We don’t want to give anything anyway but let’s just say it involved a box, a very tall man and a lot of wooden sticks!

As Morgan and West explained, their show is called ‘Unbelievable Science’ but maybe it should be ‘Believable Science’ as everything they did was real and based on their scientific knowledge!

My 9 year old thought the show was…

“…very funny and silly! I really enjoyed it and the electricy stunt right at the end was amazing and terrifiing!” 

Useful links & information

Find out everything that’s going on at York Theatre Royal in the coming months on their website.

For more Mumbler reviews of the shows and attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given complimentary tickets for the ‘Unbelievable Science’ at York Theatre Royal in exchange for an honest review.  

Oi frog and Friends at York Theatre Royal: A Mumbler Review

This week we went along to the first performance of Oi Frog and Friends at York Theatre Royal! My little girl Lil is 2 and was very excited to be going to the theatre. 

We had the buggy with us and were able to leave it in the foyer along with lots of others; the friendly staff showed me where was best.

We sat in the dress circle on row C and had a brilliant view. Booster seats were available for the children but I didn’t bother getting one for Lil as I knew she’d fidget around and be on and off my lap. Even without the booster she could see the stage no problem as the rows are tiered.

The show is based on the book series “Oi Frog” which I’ve recently introduced to Lil. There’s a big focus on rhyming which she doesn’t quite understand yet but she still enjoys all the animals that are featured. I wouldn’t say you’d need to have read the books to go and see the show but it definitely helped having some knowledge of the story as sometimes we were encouraged to shout out some of the rhyming words from the story.

There were only 4 actors on stage playing a range of different animals and I thought they were all fantastic! The puppets were so believable and seemed to come to life on stage, and Lil was mesmerised! The story alternated between talking and songs – Lil’s attention was lost a little in the songs but was always brought back again as the story continued. 

The frog was played by Sarah Palmer during the performance we saw and she was fantastic at bringing him to life and giving him a perfect little voice! 

There was just the right amount of audience participation – the children were encouraged to finish off the rhymes, and clap along sometimes to the songs. It was also very well received when an elephant began to squirt water into the audience! I feel that you’d get the best experience by sitting in the stalls – for example sometimes some of the cast came out into the audience or scattered paper from the stage but this only benefited those sat in the stalls.

Another thing that went down really well with the children was a lot of references to bottoms/bums!! It was done in a very age appropriate way and there was always a lot of laughs whenever the topic came around!!

I’d really recommend this show, especially for 3 or 4 year olds who are fans of the books! Lil was a little too young to understand all the rhyming and appreciate the humour but she still had a fantastic time, as did I. A really well put-together show and a lovely treat to attend together with my little one.


The Smeds & The Smoos, York Theatre York – A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local York Mumbler, Ellen

York Theatre Royal exterior

My children’s first theatre trip was everything I hoped it would be…a magical experience with a powerful message behind the story.

When I told my five year old twins we were going to the theatre they were so excited, although immediately asked “What is it like at the theatre?” It hadn’t occurred to me that they had never experienced the magic of theatre before. “It’s real people bringing stories to life” was my response and with that they were counting down until show day! Like families up and down the country, we have always loved sharing Julia Donaldson stories together and couldn’t wait to see the stage adaptation of The Smeds and The Smoos.

Magical atmosphere

On entering the theatre we were met by very helpful staff showing us to our seats and handing out booster seats to those who needed them. As we waited for the show to begin it was lovely to see the theatre full of excited children (and adults!) all full of anticipation for the show to begin.

The story of The Smeds and The Smoos is based on a far-off planet with two families, the Smeds and the Smoos, who are strongly opposed to mixing with one another. Bill (a Smoo) and Janet (a Smed) unexpectedly meet up and friendship and love soon blossoms! Their special bond is discovered by Grandfather Smed and Grandmother Smoo who forbid them for seeing each other again. Bill and Janet sneakily escape together in the Smed family rocket leaving the Grandparents to give chase and bring them home.

Captivating & Playful Storytelling

The brilliantly talented cast of four were fantastic from beginning to end. They each took on multiple roles and used the imaginative puppets seamlessly to portray the different creatures and aliens the Grandparents met along the way in search for Bill and Janet. The production was full of catchy songs (Joy, jam and jumping being our particular favourite!), impressive dance routines and jokes to make all ages laugh. Grandfather Smed and Grandmother Smoo’s banter filled relationship warmed into friendship when they discovered they weren’t so different after all. The cleverly hidden props and impressive lighting engrossed the audience and took them on a journey to the many different planets.

Audience participation was actively encouraged throughout with screams of ‘It’s behind you’ coming from excited children jumping out of their seats! This, along with spontaneous clapping and dancing provided us with an hour of pure fun!

The story draws to a close after Bill and Janet are found, back on the planet they were so quick to escape from. The beautiful song which celebrated their return underpinned the main message behind the story which was to ‘play with whoever you choose’. Not only did this show provide giggles and engrossed faces throughout, it also gave the youngest of children a powerful message to accept everyone for who they are.

We thoroughly enjoyed watching The Smeds and The Smoos and can’t wait to see another Tall Stories production.

Useful Links & Information

The Smeds and The Smoos have two performances at York Theatre Royal on Sunday 30th January, 10.30am and 1.30pm. The show is approx 1 hour long (no interval) Book your tickets here.
Find out everything that’s going on at York Theatre Royal in the coming months on their website.
For more Mumbler reviews of the shows and attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.
Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given complimentary tickets for ‘The Smeds and The Smoos’ at York Theatre Royal in exchange for an honest review.

Wuthering Heights at York Theatre Royal: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Rebecca

There is so much to say about this production that I don’t know where to start. I’m actually feeling stunned into speechlessness by this theatre experience, and I honestly think this is the best piece of live theatre I have ever seen.

I’ve read the book and seen two theatre productions of Wuthering Heights, one at the Theatre Royal many years ago which sadly disappointed me, but this is an experience and interpretation of the story like no other.

Theatre Royal 2019The cast is a group of incredibly witty, convincing, versatile and talented singers, dancers, musicians and performers. The play opens with action and humour and maintains a pace and thrill from beginning to end. I laughed and cried from start to finish.

If you know the novel, you will know that the vast and wild yet breathtaking landscape of the Yorkshire moors plays a huge role in the story. So how do you present that on the confines of a stage? Through dance, costume and singing. The Moors were actually personified by three very talented actors/ narrators. This was an absolute treat- and just one of many.

The creativity in this production is immense!

The props, lighting, stage design and set up, projections, music, incredible singing talent, the ability of the actors to seamlessly switch roles throughout the performance…. and did I mention the puppets? Yes! Puppetry as well as music and drama. I had to ask myself, is there no end to this cast’s talents?

Some practical points – the theatre was busier than I anticipated, so take a mask if you’re concerned about germs. On recent previous visits, I had to show evidence of a negative lateral flow test, but no such checks were in operation this time so something to bear in mind. Around half of the audience were wearing masks.

Suitable for older teens and adults

Also worth a note, there are some very funny moments, but also some very adult themes and language used, so I would not recommend that you take children to this production apart from older teens. There were many budding GCSE and A Level Drama students watching when I attended.

All this aside, I was completely enthralled by this lovely, daring, beautiful and witty interpretation of one of my favourite stories, and I’d go and watch it again in a heartbeat.

If you can swing a date night, call in a babysitting favour, and if you can get tickets, you have to go and see this play. You will not be disappointed – and for a night out with a loved one, it is a beautiful yet tear jerking tragic love story that requires no prior knowledge of the classic Bronte novel. It’s a feast for the senses- you won’t want to blink in case you miss the humour and action!

The running time was 3 hours including an interval, which seems long but honestly, the time flew like the wind over the Moors! Don’t miss this play – who knows when talent like this may blow through York Theatre Royal again!

Useful links & information

Wuthering Heights is running at York Theatre Royal until 20 Nov 2021.

Find out everything that’s going on at York Theatre Royal in the coming months on their website.

For more Mumbler reviews of the shows and attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given complimentary tickets for the ‘Wuthering Heights ’ at York Theatre Royal in exchange for an honest review.  

The Snail and the Whale, York Theatre Royal: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local York Mumbler, Rebecca

I’ve been longing to get back into the theatre. There is real magic that happens in live theatre, and I feel children and adults alike can feel involved in the wonderful stories they are told from the stage, in a very special way.

Pre- Covid restrictions, as an avid theatre enthusiast I regularly saw productions in York Theatre Royal, and often, more favourably, in the Theatre’s studio tucked away behind the main theatre. I think it’s really important to expose our children to the art of storytelling without the dreaded screens that we’ve all come to rely more upon in these times of lockdowns.

The Snail and the Whale is one of our go-to bedtime stories Snail and the Whale York Theatre Royal

When I saw that an adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s ‘The Snail and the Whale’ was being performed in York I jumped at the chance to see it (and review it!) Donaldson’s beautiful stories, written in perfect rhymes and a playful rhythm are go-to bedtime treat for our family like so many others. I’m sure you would be pushed to find a household in our country without at least one of her stories on their children’s bookshelf. Live theatre, safety and spacious seating, animals, Julia Donaldson…what’s not to like?

On arrival at York Theatre Royal…

On arrival at the York Theatre Royal (at our allocated arrival time of 4.10pm for a 4.30pm starting time) we were greeted by helpful staff and encouraged to queue with adequate space between each family. Our temperatures were checked (adults and children) and we were welcomed in. The cafe and usual vendors were closed, but having been pre-warned with an email from the theatre 24 hours beforehand, I had packed my Poppins style carpet bag with drinks and snacks should we need them – and despite my charges being very engaged throughout the performance, they did, of course, request their snacks!York Theatre Royal

There was a space for pushchairs to be left downstairs and a lift that takes you from the ground floor to the dress circle should you need it, but not a further lift towards the upper circle. Something to bear in mind for future visits if you rely on pushchairs, prams or wheelchairs: aim for tickets in the lower level seats. Another note – we were asked not to use phones or take any pictures once we entered the theatre – hence the lack of photos in this review! Apologies!

About the production

This production with its cast of three ran for 55 minutes with no interval and may have normally been shown in The Studio, but to ensure safe social distancing it was performed in the main theatre with families sat in their groups, exceptionally well spaced away from each other. There were visible staff in each section of the seating areas and we were given booster seats for our shorter audience members which was a big help. It was clear that safety was paramount.

This adaptation of the story opens with a loveable a presentation of a father and daughter’s fun-loving relationship. Familiar discussions about bedtime and doing as one is told were pleasantly narrated by voice, singing and violin music/ sound effects. My young attenders (aged 4, 5 and 6) were enthralled from the very beginning, and sat open-mouthed in part, listening to the live violin which, along with clever sound effects, created an additional soundscape to the story.

The stage and backdrop were really beautiful, with eye-catching props. A very typical feature of children’s theatre at present I have noticed is the manipulation of set and props to enhance the story, and to our delight, the props magically transform into the shape of a whale. This was met with gasps and giggles from the younger audience members, and a big ‘wow’ from me. I had wondered how a whale could be presented on stage, and this combination of clever staging and the children’s imagination made it all feel very real.

The characters were just wonderful: loveable and convincing, and the actors engaged their audience with questions and just the right amount of audience participation. There are some surprises towards the end – no spoilers here but remember: this is a tale about events at sea, after all! The music was definitely a highlight; I realised very sadly that my children have never heard a live violin being played on a stage, so this was a real treat. Listen out for renditions of the ‘Countdown’ theme tune and Celine Dion’s Titanic movie classic – they made me smile! It’s a wonderful thing to hear your children singing the songs they’ve heard and sung in a theatre show…. and we sang, holdings hands, looking up the sky and imagining the seaside, all the way home. A really lovely, memorable time spent together. And guess which story they picked from the bookshelf that night for bedtime….?

Go and see this play while you have the chance to do so, and enjoy the magic of tall stories theatre group, and of course, The tale of the Snail and the Whale.

Useful links & information

Find out everything that’s going on at York Theatre Royal in the coming months on their website.

For more Mumbler reviews of the shows and attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given complimentary tickets for the ‘The Snail and the Whale’ at York Theatre Royal in exchange for an honest review. 

Twirlywoos Live on Stage: A Mumbler Review

Yesterday we went to see The Twirlywoos Live at the Theatre Royal…

I’d not been to the theatre in over a year and a half and my daughter Lilian had never been at all, so it was absolutely brilliant to get back. I’m going to say a little about the show and a bit about the theatre in general with the current covid restrictions they have in place. 

We received an email the day before the performance, explaining how it was all going to work with the additional safety measures. We were given a time to arrive at the theatre before the performance to ensure everyone didn’t turn up at the same time. I was a little worried as our time was 20 minutes before the performance and I didn’t want to go to our seats at that time as Lil would definitely not sit still for an extra 20 mins on top of the performance, but it was fine as we didn’t actually have to immediately sit down. Instead I let Lil have a wander round the foyer and outdoor cafe seating area to burn off a bit of energy! 

They had a little bit of Twirlywoos merchandise for sale, and I couldn’t resist getting Lil a talking Toodaloo – it was quite pricey but I wanted her to have something we could remember her first theatre trip by. 

We took our seats about five minutes before the performance started. The seating is all socially distanced and I felt very safe. It was so ideal for this type of performance where children may become fidgety – you didn’t feel as if you were annoying anyone as you weren’t close enough! We were located at the end of an aisle about 6 rows back. The seating is quite steeply tiered which was great as no one was blocking our view. There were 5 empty seats next to us on our row between us and the next family, which gave Lil a little bit of room to walk up and down and ensured she didn’t feel hemmed in. The socially distanced seating really was perfect!

On arrival to the theatre there was a temperature check for all adults. You were then asked to sanitise your hands on arrival to the theatre and on entering the auditorium, and masks needed to be worn unless you were eating/drinking. It was quite warm to be wearing a mask especially trying to contain a wriggly baby at the same time! Lilian is only 18 months old so I wasn’t sure if she’d be too young for this performance – both to understand it, and to have the ability to sit still for an hour. But I needn’t have worried as there were lots of younger babies there as well as older toddlers! 

The performance started, and it was a really lovely and relaxing show. I thought the twirlywoos would be giant dressed up characters but they were smaller puppets and the whole thing was really cleverly done. It did at times struggle to hold Lil’s interest but I expected this at her age. She was content enough swapping between sitting on her own chair, my lap and standing, as well as eating lots of snacks and nearer the end snuggling up with her dummy. Her favourite bits were the interactive parts, including when lots of bubbles came out over the audience! 

The actors were fantastic and I loved seeing the performance, it was so cleverly done with the puppets and the set changes. It made me really realise how much I’ve missed going to the theatre and I want to go back and see more things! There were three short stories/scenes that made up the hour long performance, which was just long enough for little ones. 

I love the Theatre Royal and being there brought back so many happy memories of all the varied shows I’ve seen there in the past. At the end the actors thanked everyone for returning to the theatre and said how hard the past year and a bit has been, and it made me quite emotional! Hopefully this performance will be the first of many enjoyed with my little girl.

To find out more about what’s on at York Theatre Royal – CLICK HERE



York Theatre Royal

York Mumbler Holly and her partner ventured out this half term for a date night to see ‘THE GREATEST PLAY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD…’ at York Theatre Royal. Find out what they thought about it, plus lots of other useful information in their review.




From the 17th of May 2021 theatres, cinema’s and indoor dining re-opened! So when we were invited to come back and watch an award winning play we jumped at the chance to go on a date night to enjoy dining out and a trip to the theatre! As it was half term the children would enjoy a sleepover with the grandparents while we got dressed up and headed into York.

Upon Arrival

After a quick bite to eat we arrived at the theatre in plenty of time and queued up to check in with the NHS track & trace, have our tickets checked and temperature taken. Hand sanitiser was available and there were toilets for use. It was a very smooth operation and before we knew it we were up on the first floor bar enjoying some pre-show drinks. Much to our delight the bar was well stocked with a selection of locally made beverages. If you want to take your drink in to enjoy whilst watching the show simply ask them to put it in a plastic cup for you. With social distancing in place it meant that people were seated in their bubbles with plenty of space between groups.

The Show

York Theatre RoyalTHE GREATEST PLAY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD… is a one woman show, starring BAFTA -nominated Julie Hesmondhalgh (Coronation Street, Broadchurch). The stage was set with two extremely tall shelving units with mysterious boxes dotted on every shelf. Light bulbs dangled down from the ceiling and the stage and back wall were covered in a slightly sparkly, blue carpet.

Julie tells a story of a man who wakes in the middle of the night to discover that the world has stopped. Through the crack in his bedroom curtains he can see no signs of life at all…other than a light in the house opposite where a woman in an over-sized Bowie T-shirt stands, looking back at him.

Inside the mysterious boxes were pairs of shoes, used to represent the characters in the story, making an appearance every time their character featured. This was a really clever way to introduce the ‘cast’ and gave you a sense of what the owners of the shoes might be like. We won’t give any more away about the story, we thoroughly enjoyed the show and were captivated by Julie’s storytelling and humour throughout. This is a modern love story which is ideal to enjoy together, we went for some post show cocktails afterwards to chat further about the play. It has been a great opportunity to re-connect and do something together we both really enjoy and has really given us back the theatre bug!

York Theatre Royal is currently running a series of plays as part of ‘The Love Season’. So why not check out what’s on offer, there are shows running till the end of July so plenty of time to go on a date night or take the kids along to support the theatre.


The Stage Edinburgh Award Winner and 2018 Fringe sell-out show.

Covid safety

  • Tickets must be purchased in advance.
  • Face masks must be worn whilst in the building and during the show.
  • Where possible please use e-tickets by selecting print at home delivery method.
  • Max. 6 tickets per booking. Attendees should sit in groups of six or less in accordance with the latest government guidelines.
  • Seats in the auditorium are spaced in bubbles in order to maintain social distancing between groups.
  • They will send you an email before your visit to ensure you have all the information you need ahead of your visit.


Toilet facilities were available inside the building.

Show dates & times

The show is available from Wednesday 02 June – Saturday 05 June, with showings at 3pm and 8pm.

The show runs through for 70 minutes.


Ticket prices start at £15.00 per person.

Useful links

Book Tickets

For more Mumbler reviews of the shows and attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given complimentary tickets for THE GREATEST PLAY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD… at York Theatre Royal in exchange for an honest review.

York Stage Panto – Jack & The Beanstalk – A Mumbler Review December 2020

The York Panto is saved thanks to York Stage, who have produced a wonderfully glitzy, funny & very Covid secure Panto to York this Year.

We were invited to go see Jack & The Beanstalk Pantomime by the Writer & Director, Nik Briggs of York Stage. The Panto is at the small studio, John Cooper at Monkgate 41 until 3rd January. Along we went for this novelty family outing (It’s been a loooong time!) in our cheesy matchy matchy Christmas Jumpers ready for some festive fun.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect… I’ve been to the studio before (my girls have done rehearsals there) and it’s very intimate, how would they be able to bring the frivolity and fun of the panto to such a small space, while making it feel safe? Having been to York Stage Productions before… I was hopeful…

Upon Arrival

We arrived in plenty of time & we had our temperature taken at the door (using one of those thermometers that check your forehead without touching it) The entrance was decorated with beanstalks going up the stairs so immediately you felt immersed in the experience. Hand Sanitiser was available and there were toilets for use.

We were shown up to our seats and I was wowed when I got a peek at the set on the way up.. I don’t know what I was expecting but it’s been such a long time since we’ve been to a live show – it was just wonderful to see the colour and glitter of Panto once again.

The ‘Stage’ is in the middle of the room and there is a single row of seats either side then another row above each side too. We were seated on the top tier and had a fabulous view of the whole performance area. Audience members over 11 years need to wear a mask unless eating or drinking (or have a personal reason why they can’t) and every ‘bubble’ is completely separated by a perspex screen so, even for my slightly more cautious husband, it felt very safe indeed. For More info about all the Covid Secure Measures, visit the website HERE. 

The Show

The show started a little late as they very kindly held off for a few late-comers (due to the way it’s set up – it’s important to arrive a little early if you can so that there is no rush to be seated) but we were entertained by the voices of Ben & Laura from the York Christmas Mix Radio who gave us a count down to ‘curtain-up’ – this was the first of many very localised touches… it really was a Pantomine by York Folk for York Folk.

As for the show – well what can I say.. .it just had absolutely everything you’d want from a Pantomime and more… the cast were absolutely top class.. from a beautiful kind fairy (Livvy Evans) with just a touch of sass, to a very handsome Jack played by Jordan Fox (mums… there are some enjoyable costumes here for you that don’t leave much to the imagination 😉) and the Dame Trott (Alex Weatherhill) was PERFECT! Some brilliant one-liners, OTT Costumes complete with oversized headgear and cow horns in all the right places.

It was absolutely packed with jovial song and dance – Jill (May Tether) had an absolutely stunning voice and the whole ensemble danced with such energy to brilliantly choreographed routines by West End ace Gary Lloyd. The Baddy, Flesh Creep (Ian Stroughair) was perfectly nasty – My youngest was just the right amount of scared with plenty of ‘Boo’s and Hiss’s’ and then when he smiled and waved at her at the end she was thrilled.

I think my favourite and memorable parts were around the script and the witty gags….  As tough as this year has been for many, it certainly made for some very fresh and relevant material which I felt they pitched perfectly to give us all a well needed giggle. The biggest laughs for me were around the social distancing, which had hilarious implications for Daisy the Cow, and the references to the Extra Vegan Beans (the type you might find on Bishy Road)… such funny, fresh and localised scripting that gave this classic Panto a current day, fresh twist.

There was probably about 50 people in the audience. As an audience member this was amazing… the whole show felt very intimate and it honestly felt like a really privilege to be there and having this experience  – my girls loved being able to see the smiles and eye winks of the cast and really felt a part of it. As an adult and a lover of live performances and theatre I, however, also felt a little sadness. I knew that the implications for the company and the actors would be that their potential audience capacity was small… it was obvious that the whole show was a real Labour of Love.. a dedication by all involved that ‘The Show Must Go On’ and I felt so grateful that they had made this huge effort to do this. I wanted to say THANK YOU to them all and let them know how much we appreciate you bringing the magic of panto to our family and many more families in York.

If you haven’t booked tickets yet then please don’t hesitate – let’s show them that their efforts have been worthwhile and I’d love to see this show sell out completely.


Mumbler Top Tips:

  • Arrive in plenty of time – you will be guided to your seats in your family bubble & have time to order drinks before the show starts
  • Make sure the mini mumblers (and you!) have been to the loo before the show.. there is no interval (it’s just 90 minutes long) so you’ll get a better experience if you can watch without leaving to spend a penny!
  • Seats are allocated for you but you can make a special request if needed… downstairs would probably be better for toddlers who are likely to climb on the railings on the higher tier and would be better if you are not likely to need a toilet trip half way through the show. We were upstairs and had a great view.
  • If your mini mumblers prefer a daytime show then you’ll be happy as there are 11am performances on weekends and the week before Christmas as well plenty of 1 & 2pm Matinees.


To Book Your Tickets just go to the website HERE

Early Show Prices £22 (£20 Concession) apply for shows from the 11-17 December.

Premium Show Prices £27 (£25 Concession) apply for shows on the evening of 23 December and both shows on 24 and 26 December.

Standard Ticket Price £25 (£22.50 Concession) apply for the rest of the run.

Please note, as per government guidance, you will only be able to purchase up to 6 tickets. Please ensure you are only booking for people who are part of your household or support bubble. If you are in a household larger than 6 people please email us to book tickets.

York Stage gifted us these tickets for the Panto but everything written here is our honest view, we pinky promise we’ll always be honest with our Mumblers. This one is fab! 

Teddy Bears’ Picnic at Park Bench Theatre: A Mumbler review

York Mumbler Holly and her two children (5 and 8) recently went to see their first socially distanced theatre performance of ‘Teddy bears’ Picnic’ at Park Bench Theatre. Find out what they thought about it, plus lots of other useful information in their review.

Park Bench Theatre, by York Theatre Royal, is a series of socially-distanced monologues for all ages, presented in the beautiful setting of Rowntree Park. As this is an outdoor theatre production it means that the audience can easily follow government social distancing guidelines but in a relaxed, fun manner.

We were booked in to see the 1.30pm performance of Teddy Bears’ Picnic so we decided to arrive a bit earlier to burn off a bit of steam in the play park first of all. The ‘doors’ opened 1 hour before the performance start time to allow the audience to arrive at their leisure to avoid queuing up to get in. The performance took place in the Friends Garden at Rowntree Park, and large 2-3 metre ‘family bubble’ circles had been painted on the grass so you could comfortably layout your picnic rug, set up your camping chairs or park up your buggy to enjoy a picnic, with your teddy bears of course, before the performance began.

Guests were issued with a receiver to plug head phones into to hear the music and performance clearly. You may bring your own headphones to plug in or you can also purchase some for £1. They were very simple and easy for the kids to use and adjust the volume.

The performance is inspired by the song and based on an original idea by Julian Butler. The story follows a lady called Jo, who we instantly recognised as Cassie from our favourite story telling team Crafty Tales.

Every year Jo’s family used to have a big family gathering. A teddy bears’ picnic. It was brilliant. And then she got too old and too cool for that kind of thing. So she stopped going. But now she’s a grown up…kinda…she wishes she could have them all over again.
The performance takes place around a park bench in monologue style. Jo interacts with the audience making them think, laugh and play along in their family bubbles.  We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and found it to be very relaxing, funny and a great add on to your visit to Rowntree Park.

There is access the toilets at Rowntree park. Facemasks are not required to be worn at any point during arrival, departure or during the performance as this is an outdoor performance.

Teddy Bears’ Picnic is on till the 5th September, with 2 showings a day at 11.30am or 1.30pm. The performance lasts for 30 minutes and costs £5 per person. Tickets must be booked in advance and can be booked here.

Photo credit to Northedge Photography for official show images.

We were given tickets to this show in exchange for a Guest review by local Mumbler, Holly from Yorkshire Brand Stories,  all opinions are her own and we’ll always give an honest review. 

Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever at the Grand Opera House, York: A Mumbler Review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Claire

York Mumbler Claire took her 4-year-old to see Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever at the Grand Opera House York. Find out what they thought about it, plus useful information in their review.

Peppa Pig is excited to be going on a special day out with George, Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig – it’s going to be her best day ever!

Get ready for a road-trip full of fun adventures. From castles to caves, dragons to dinosaurs and ice-creams to muddy puddles – there is something for all of the family and their friends to enjoy, including Miss Rabbit, Mr Bull, Suzy Sheep, Gerald Giraffe and more!

Prepare for the brand new Peppa Pig live show packed full of songs, games and laughter, it really is the best day ever for Peppa Pig fans!


Excited Faces

I took my 4 year old along to the opening performance of Peppa Pig which is currently touring the UK.  It is playing in York for two days with two shows left tomorrow, Thursday 5th March, at 10am and 1pm.  Most children love Peppa Pig at some time or other and whether or not they are currently ‘hooked’ I think all will enjoy this performance.

As we waited for the performance to start the theatre filled up with lots of expectant faces and excited squeals and giggles.  “When is Peppa coming on?” I was asked at least 5 times!  If this is to be the ‘best day ever’ for your little ones you would be advised to take some extra pennies for the paraphernalia on sale prior to the show.  I avoided the spinning flashing wands, we have enough of those and it’s more distracting than anything else.


Non-stop Entertainment

As the curtain rose and Peppa and her family entered the stage, the excited chatter soon turned to enrapture.  I’m not sure the children could quite believe their eyes, Peppa Pig, actually on stage!

The show moved at a really fast pace, full of songs, dancing and audience participation.  It has been cleverly put together to keep the attention of very young children by encouraging them to join in and by moving through the story quickly.  Children (and grown ups) are encouraged to perform actions, call out and sing along which makes them feel part of the journey which Peppa takes with her family and friends on their fun adventure.  Songs included  Peppa Pig classics and some reworked popular children’s songs. Looking around children were captivated, sometimes extremely excited and thoroughly enjoying the performance.

Peppa and her friends visit a cave, explore a castle, find secret passages, encountered a feast and met a dragon!  Many of Peppa’s much loved friends join in along the way.  It’s an impressive technical achievement and completely faithful to Peppa Pig as we all know and love her.  It is non-stop and of course no Peppa Pig adventure is complete without muddy puddles.  If you’re in the stalls watch out, you might be in the splash zone!!

My 4 year old gave it an impressive 11 out of 10 and a big thumbs up!



If you’re concerned about taking young ones to the theatre, don’t be.  The theatre will be full of small children so it can be noisy but it’s very easy to switch off, it doesn’t detract from the performance and you don’t need to feel paranoid if your child is having a wobble.  The show is only 1 hour long with a 15 minute interval so children are not expected to sit still and pay attention for too long at a time.

Booster seats are available if required.  My son stayed in his seat the entire time without a booster and was able to see just fine.

I would recommend leaving pushchairs at home if you can.  But if you need to bring them there were staff on hand to help you down the few stairs into the theatre and there are dedicated areas for parking pushchairs.  There were a lot today so if you arrive and park up first you may need to hang back at the end before you can extract your pushchair.  I would recommend arriving early as it takes a little longer than usual to filter into the theatre and to your seats.

Entry to the theatre is by the side entrance.  The box office is for ticket collection only.


Useful links & information

Peppa Pig is showing at the Grand Opera House until Thursday 5th March with shows at 10am and 1pm.

Tickets from £18.15

Children under 18 months do not require a paid ticket.

Box office: 0844 871 3024

Online Booking:


For more Mumbler reviews of the shows and attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given complimentary tickets for the Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever at the Grand Opera House York in exchange for an honest review.

The Boy Who Bit Picasso at York Theatre Royal: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Holly

York Mumbler Holly and her two children (4 and 7) recently went to see ‘The Boy Who Bit Picasso’ at York Theatre Royal. Find out what they thought about the experience, plus lots of useful information in their fab review.

Untied Artists present ‘The Boy Who Bit Picasso’, is an interactive theatre show for everyone aged four and up. With storytelling, music and lots of chances to make your own art, this hands-on and hilarious family show introduces one of the 20th century’s most influential artists through the eyes of a young boy.

A new theatre experience – immersive & interactive!

This was a completely brand new theatre experience for us. A feast for the eyes, ears and creative brain, ‘The Boy Who Bit Picasso’ really is a fully immersive and interactive kids show. Throughout the performance, the children were invited to take part and come down onto the stage to help create various pieces of art including making bull masks, helping Picasso to ‘cook the dinner’ and paint with ‘magic paint’.

The story follows a boy named Tony who lives on a farm in South Yorkshire, Picasso is an old family friend and one day comes to visit. Following his visit, Picasso asks Tony and his mother if they would like to stay with him during the summer holidays. So they take a plane to the South of France for 4 weeks of creative fun and frolics.

Great activities for children

The lead character, Tony, puts the audience at ease from the very start by engaging with the kids whilst everyone took their seats. This meant the kids really felt they could join in with all the activities once the performance had started. The main characters, Tony and Picasso, were the perfect blend of funny & silly with the main character Tony being really relatable to kids as he struggles to concentrate in class and do his timetables homework.

The stage was very simply set at the start and as the performance progressed the pieces of art the children created and new props were added to the set to create a vibrant collage. The actors played various instruments as they moved around the stage and interacted with the audience.

Set in York Theatre Royals Studio Stage, this intimate performance was a really special half-term treat and got two thumbs up from all of us!

If you are unsure of what the audience participation will entail check out this trailer on Youtube.

Useful links & information

‘The Boy Who Bit Picasso’ is running until Saturday 22nd February 2020 and is the perfect show to watch as a family treat during half term at York Theatre Royal, St Leonard’s Place. York, YO1 7HD.

Showtimes are at 11am and 2pm, so why not make a special treat of it and eat at the Theatre Royal cafe before or after the performance. Recommended age is 4+ and the show runs for 1 hour and 10 minutes without an intermission. Adult tickets are priced at £12, £8 for under 18’s.

Buy tickets online at York Theatre Royal

Find out everything that’s going on at York Theatre Royal at half term on York Mumbler. 

For more Mumbler reviews of the shows and attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here. 

Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given complimentary tickets for the ‘The Boy Who Bit Picasso’ at York Theatre Royal in exchange for an honest review.

Oliver at York Theatre Royal: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Nikki

York Mumbler Nikki and her 14-year-old recently went to see Oliver at York Theatre Royal. Find out what they thought about it, plus lots of useful information in their review.

Oliver Twist is the infamous Charles Dickens tale of an orphan boy living in Victorian London. Like many children at the time, Oliver finds himself placed in a workhouse where he is subjected to harsh treatment from its owner Mr Bumble. He is quickly sold on after daring to ask for more gruel by whispering the famous line…

“Please Sir, can I have some more?”

Oliver then finds himself trying to survive the grim realities of being a young and naive street child simply trying to survive a time where crime and murder were rife.

The story has been told many times; on television, adapted into films and played in theatres across the country. This time, its York Light Opera Companies turn to wow the crowds with its catchy songs and impressive choreography in the grandeur of York Theatre Royal.

I headed along on their opening night with my 14-year-old in tow. An aspiring actress and singer, this was the perfect opportunity to see how it’s done!

Drinks to start the evening offOliver sign York Theatre Royal

The show was to begin at 7.30pm and we arrived at the Theatre in plenty of time. The clean and spacious foyer was already packed with people milling around or enjoying a light bite before the show started.

We joined a large queue of people waiting to buy drinks to take into the auditorium. Whilst it was busy, it wasn’t too long before we were served a Diet Coke and a large glass of Pinot Grigio, so we headed upstairs to find our seats.

Easy to find our seats 

York Theatre Royal to its credit, we found is easily signposted and set out in a way that can accommodate a large number of people without feeling claustrophobic. We found our seats quickly and made ourselves comfortable. Looking around, most of the crowd were couples or groups of people aged from about 20 upwards. We only saw a few children at this particular production, but that could be down to the time of day it was shown. I have no doubt that the Saturday matinee performances will be full of children so make sure you book your tickets now to avoid disappointment if you’re planning on going!

Captivated from the start!

A quick browse through the programme (£3.50) promised we were in for a treat. 7.30pm arrived and within minutes of the opening scene a chorus of “Food glorious Food” rung out from the young workhouse boys. From then on, we were captivated. It was energetic, fast-paced and brilliantly choreographed. We soon got to the interlude and left wondering what would become of Oliver after his arrest for pickpocketing. Most people used this as an opportunity to stretch their legs and buy refreshments – the usual ice cream, cakes and coffees, all sold for quite reasonable prices.Oliver show shot York Theatre Royal

On to the second half of a wonderful show

The second half opened with a rapturous round of “Oom-Pah-Pah” from the older cast members. This is where I felt any first-night nerves vanished and they really showed off their enthusiasm for putting on a good show.

What gained the biggest reaction from the crowd was the arrival of Bill Syke’s dog ‘Bullseye’ who was ‘played’ by a real dog, somewhat reluctantly at times as he didn’t go where needed to and was often pulled into position by his lead! They do say you should never work with children or animals, but both were wonderful in this production!

There were a few minor first-night teething issues; Bill Sykes costume began to unravel near his leg and Oliver’s microphone had a few crackly moments at the start. Both were quickly corrected at the first opportunity and both actors carried on like the professionals they are and weren’t phased in the slightest.

The end scene resulted in a gunshot being fired and more than one of the lead characters being killed. Despite the warnings in the Box Office foyer that ‘this production contains gunshots and scenes of violence’, the crack of the gun being fired still made half the audience jump, so ready yourselves for the moment as you have been warned!

Absolute credit goes to all the cast and production team for their wonderful show with the beautiful singing and dancing.

Useful links & information

Oliver is running until Saturday 22nd February 2020 and is the perfect show to watch as a couple, a group of friends or a family as a treat during half term at York Theatre Royal, St Leonard’s Place. York, YO1 7HD

Adult tickets are priced from £12 with concession rates available for over 65’s and children under 18. Buy tickets online here.

Find out everything that’s going on at York Theatre Royal at half term here.

For more Mumbler reviews of the shows and attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

Production Photo Credit: YorkLight’s Oliver by Tom Arber. 

Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given complimentary tickets for the Oliver at York Theatre Royal in exchange for an honest review.

The Storm Whale, York Theatre Royal: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Rebecca

York Mumbler Rebecca and her daughter recently went to see the Storm Whale at York Theatre Royal. Find out what they thought about it, plus lots of useful information in their review.

This charming adaptation of the sweet stories by Benji Davies was a real pleasure to watch. York Theatre Royal, Little Angel Theatre and Engine House have produced the story of Noi and a very memorable ‘tail’ of friendship begins for these adorable characters.

“The story is about Noi who lives with his Dad and six cats by the sea. One summer, while his Dad was busy at work, Noi rescued a little whale that washed up on the beach. A friendship began that changed their lives forever.”

The Storm Whale, York Theatre Royal

The sounds of summer in the Studio Theatre

We were greeted upon arrival to the studio by sweet nautical tunes and an adorable set with an aquatic beach theme. It took us back to the soundscape from the summer at the seaside, but as the stage and set were later adapted for the second tale of The Storm Whale in Winter, there was a clear festive theme and a delightful Christmas song to bring us up to a more current season.

The cast of three worked hard to engage children and adults of all ages with song, movement and puppetry.

Cassie Vallance (vividly memorable for anyone who saw her in the Shakespeare pop-up theatre over the summer) is utterly transfixing as Noi; she brings humour and great emotion to the character’s plea for company and delicately presents the themes of loss and loneliness coupled with love and friendship. Little ones can really learn so much from this story.

A family-friendly theatre experience

The Storm Whale, York Theatre RoyalThe Studio gives us parents the gift of a safe and understanding place to bring young children to enjoy a live show. There were many children of all ages around us despite the suggestion of this being suitable for those aged 4 and up. It didn’t matter when a baby cried, or when anyone needed to pop out mid-scene to use the toilets, or even when one enthusiastic toddler cheered and slipped off his chair, as there’s an understanding from parents at these type of events. The staff, ushers and actors alike are supportive and helpful in any situation.

The play is an hour and 15 minutes in length with a short interval, but please don’t miss the second part as you really are in for a treat! These versatile actors not only sing but operate the puppets with precision and grace. We left with huge smiles after some special moments together – a lovely treat for you and your little ones this Christmas. I’m a huge fan of ‘experience gifts’ at this time of year like theatre tickets and trips out, and what a special gift this production is.

Useful links & information

The Storm Whale is being performed in The Studio at York Theatre Royal in the mornings and afternoons at perfect times for children, until 4 January 2020.

Book tickets for the Storm Whale online at York Theatre Royal.
For more information see the details on York Mumbler.
For more Mumbler reviews of the theatres and attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given complimentary tickets for the Storm Whale at York Theatre Royal in exchange for an honest review.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Grand Opera House, York: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Ashley

York Mumbler Ashley and her six-year-old son recently went to see this year’s pantomime at the Grand Opera House, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  Find out what they thought about it, plus lots of useful information in her review.

We were lucky enough to be invited to watch this year’s Grand Opera House pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

At the risk of sounding like an utter misery… pantomime hasn’t always been my favourite things, but I have to say, this was one of the most enjoyable pantos I’ve seen.  I may well be a converted pantomime fan!

I knew that my 6-year-old, a theatre-loving boy would probably enjoy it no matter what. It’s always great to have a weekday treat and we were excited for an opportunity for some quality time together and to get us into the Christmas spirit…and it certainly did the trick.

Lots of laughter to be had

Right from the opening scene, ‘Muddles’ and ‘Nurse Brexit’ got the audience involved and continued to bring plenty of giggles throughout. The panto stars Mark Little, the best baddie in Yorkshire, ‘Allo ‘Allo legend Vicki Michelle and man of comedy and magic Martin Daniels were all excellent.

Everyone from our very own town crier Ben Fry, right through to the dancers were exceptional and the wicked queen (my son’s favourite) brought plenty of ‘boos’ and ‘hisses’ in contrast to the delightful Snow White, Prince Rudolph and the seven, very cute dwarfs!

Our seats were brilliant up in the dress circle and we made the most of the little binoculars to hire (although we didn’t need them).

We enjoyed the usual interval treats…including delicious ice cream and my little one persuaded me to buy him one of the delightful flashing toys on offer on the foyer. Be aware they are a bit on the pricey side, but lots of fun.

A great show for all ages

The audience age range seemed to vary from about 2 or 3 years old, right up to someone who was celebrating their 96th Birthday.
We came out feeling full of cheer after a thoroughly enjoyable evening and I think I may well be a converted pantomime fan!

Useful links & information

  • The panto is running until Saturday 4 Jan 2020
  • There are two performances a day (matinee & evening)
  • Signed and captioned performances are available
  • Relaxed performances are also available – perfect for very young children or those that would like to see the show in a less formal atmosphere.
  • Pre-book tickets online here.
  • For more information see the details on York Mumbler.

For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions and shows  in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given complimentary tickets for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Grand Opera House in York in exchange for an honest review.

Jesus Christ Superstar at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Geoff

York Mumbler Geoff and his 16-year-old son went to see Jesus Christ Superstar at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre in York. Find out what they thought of the show in their superb review.

On a typically dank and dreary November evening, the opening night of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre York shone a bright spotlight on the north of our historic city. With a hippy 70s vibe; thanks to bright primary-coloured dresses, CND medallions and John Lennon specs, and its funk- and psych-inflected riffs – the story of Jesus’ final days demands to be felt and experienced, not just seen and heard.

York Musical Theatre Company delivers an amazing show

Jesus Christ Superstar


A young Tim Rice, and Andrew Lloyd Webber first delivered the Billboard album chart success in mid-1970, finally setting Broadway alight a year later. Opening in London in 1972, JCS went on to become the longest-running musical in the West End.

Roll forward to 2019, and the York Musical Theatre Company directed by Paul Laidlaw drop us into the ‘peace and love’ decade. The Converse wearing Jesus (John Whitney) and Judas’ (Chris Mooney) casual cargo pants are suitably understated – the real stars are the ensemble – straight from the fields of Woodstock.

The elegant creative decisions need to be applauded, with fantastic hair and makeup work throughout. The stage itself also plays a leading role, with functional scaffolding providing a bleak centrepiece and giving the performance both depth and height. With deft lighting changes and the addition of red glowing lanterns, we are quickly transported into the depravity of The Temple which is only matched by Jesus’ subsequent wrath.

The hard-working cast and band put their all into the foot-tapping numbers; from the powerful ensemble songs Strange Thing Mystifying and Hosanna, to the soaring vocals of Blood Money. Chris Mooney’s Judas that really shines throughout whilst leaving room for Mary Magdelene’s (Marlena Kellie) tenderness and edge.

Not always an easy watch, and unapologetically so, this is a show that has impact and relevance in today’s world.

Great for teenagers or as a date night

I went with my 16-year-old and I’d recommend it for parents with teens, or as a date night theatre trip. Given the content and the presentation, it’s perhaps best avoided by younger audiences. There are probably safer ways to introduce the Easter story to your little ones!

The Jo-Ro theatre is always a pleasure to visit, with free parking a short walk away [take a torch], lovely welcoming staff, and comfortable seating. The rake is also pleasing throughout the stalls and balcony, so a good view can be had from all seats.


Useful links & information

Jesus Christ Superstar plays until Saturday 30 November and tickets range from £13 to £18.

You can buy online and pick your seat at here or give the Box Office a call on 01904 50 19 35

For more Mumbler reviews of shows and attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given complimentary tickets for Jesus Christ Superstar at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre but all views are honest and our own.

Scrooge at the Grand Opera House, York: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Rebecca

York Mumbler Rebecca and her friend went to see Scrooge at the Grand Opera House in York. Find out what Rebecca thought of the show in her brilliant review.

I’m a huge fan of Charles Dickens’ writing and at this time of year like many of us, I enjoy a good festive sing-along, so was delighted to attend last night’s performance of Scrooge the Musical. This stage show, based on the timeless Victorian classic, is a version of the 1970 film musical by Leslie Bricusse. If you love musicals and enjoy getting into the Christmas ‘spirit’ during the seasonal build-up, then this is the show for you.

Scrooge will appeal to all ages Scrooge at Grand Opera House

A packed ensemble of all ages cheered us with song and dance from the opening scene to the satisfying end. Scrooge – played Mark Hird was a delight to watch and listen to. He performed the transformation of Scrooge from moody old miser to likeable charity and people-loving giver fantastically. A real treat to watch from start to end. In my view, the show appealed to all ages with some witty one-liners which veered from Dickens’ original word but suitably fit the mood and broke the audience into laughter.

There were some sweet performances from the children in the cast which conjured up plenty of ‘Ahhhhhhs’ from the audience.

Tiny tim was, predictably, adorable and may bring a tear to the eye during the visit of the Ghost of Christmas yet to come! Another moment of really outstanding impressiveness was the performance by Frankie Bounds who played the younger Scrooge – this actor has an exceptional operatic voice and delivered an emotional parting from Scrooge’s long-lost Fiance, Fan.

Action, humour and even flying!

Programme for Scrooge at Grand Opera HouseThere’s plenty of action, humour and excitingly, flying cast members (including the ghosts of course) and the stage sets and props helped to set the festive and familiar scene of Dickensian London. The special effects were not entirely seamless, but this was the opening night at the Grand Opera House so we can’t expect perfection. When the first actor was raised above the stage I felt more than slightly nervous, but this added to the thrill of the performance!

Not normally a fan of musicals, I felt that the songs were….. great! Catchy, clear and humorous lyrics which helped to emphasise aspects of the story such as Scrooge’s dislike of Christmas, charity, even people! One particular musical number had the audience singing out loud after the final curtain call. Surely the sign of an enjoyable show!

Performance times and useful information

The performance I attended lasted 2 hours and 25 minutes, including the interval, so bear this in mind when taking mini mumblers. It is a late finish for the evening performances but in my view, a Matinee would be an ideal family event. Many schools study this story up to GCSE level (there were some school groups in the audience last night) so there’s even an educational motive for getting your school-age children familiar with the plot and characters!

The musical runs from now until December 1st so get your tickets now if you don’t want to miss this fabulous, feel-good, festive event!

For more information including details of special offers see the full details on York Mumbler.
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here and the special CHRISTMAS REVIEWS area for all things festive this year.

Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given free tickets for Scrooge at the Grand Opera House but all views are honest and our own.

Hoglets Theatre Company York, Fairietold: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Nikki

Find out what local Mumbler Nikki thought of Hoglets current production, Fairetold when she went along with her 4-year-old to watch it. 

About Hoglets Theatre CompanyHoglets Theatre Company

Hoglets Theatre Company runs storytelling and drama classes aimed at young children and their parents and carers.

With their unique way of bringing stories to life, Fairietold was always destined to be a success, offering by their own admissions a ‘dark, hilarious and imaginative new production, turning fairytales on their heads’.

We went along to their first production at Acomb Library and were met with approximately 20 children ranging from babies up to about 8 years old. The production is recommended for children from 5 to 11 years old but my 4-year-old sat through it enthralled, as were most of the children in the room apart from a few screaming babies which incidentally didn’t phase the actors in the slightest.

Before the show

We arrived a few minutes early so waited in the onsite coffee shop for the doors of the library’s side room to open. Whilst waiting we overheard a very enthusiastic lady talking to one of the cast members explaining she had seen their last show and loved it so much that she had come on her own with no children in tow today, especially to watch the production.

After a quick register of the pre-booked ticket holders, we entered the room to the sound of softly playing banjo music and sat on the row of chairs. Most children sat on the mats at the front although my little one sat on my knee throughout the entire performance.

About the performance

Within the first few minutes, we were introduced to the three cloaked storytellers who explained mysteriously things are not always as they seem. Their sudden entrance onto the stage floor from behind a pre-lit theatre screen made some of the smallest children jump in fright which is why I think their age advisory of 5 years and over is just about right.

Throughout the production, the storytellers invited some of the children from the audience to exchange a silver coin (given to them when entering the room) for a story tale. The first tale was Hansel & Grettel and without wanting to give too much away, it’s not Hansel & Grettel who meet an untimely end!

With another exchange of a silver coin, we swiftly moved onto a very modern twist to the age-old tale of Little Red Riding Hood.
This, I felt, was where the three actresses really got into the swing of it and absolutely shone. With numerous one-liners and references to the modern age (Red Riding Hood’s attitude and love of Instagram would resonate with the parents of most older children!) this story had a strong underlying message, that greed and deceit are not good traits to have.

The final story was all about Rumpelstiltskin and portrayed him as a misunderstood and lost soul who simply wanted a friend. After his friendship was spurned by the newly appointed queen that he had helped into power, he took his revenge.

The whole production lasted around 45 minutes which was just right for young children. It certainly kept them captivated and with some real laugh out loud moments, including a hilarious rendition of ‘You’ve got a friend’ sang by Rumpelstiltskin himself. Our banjo playing friend who was in charge of the sound effects did a great job too, helping to bring the stories to life.

To sum up Nikki thought…

“This was a fabulous production and one that I feel hasn’t really got the coverage it deserves. You should really aim to see it before it’s too late, especially as it is their last production this year.”

Useful links & information

For more information on Hoglets classes see the details on York Mumbler.
A review of a previous Hoglets production can be read here. 
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

Further showings of Fairietold are scheduled for:

  • Tang Hall Library: Wed 30th Oct 2019 at 1.15pm + 2.45pm (For tickets call 01904 552655 or go along in person)
  • York Explore Library: Thurs 31st Oct 2019 at 1.15pm + 2.45pm (For tickets call 01904 552828 or go along in person)
  • Tickets are £4 each – all children must be accompanied by a paying adult.

Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given free tickets for Fairietold by Hoglets in exchange for an honest review.

Northern Lights at York Minster: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Rebecca

York Mumbler Rebecca and her four-year-old daughter recently went to see the Northern Lights display at York Minster.  Find out what they thought about it, plus lots of useful information in her review.

As advertised, this is a truly special and awesome spectacle, not to be missed if you enjoy the splendour of the Minster and have a liking for immersive light and image projection with intense sound accompaniment. Having recently attended the Van Gogh Immersive exhibition in St Mary’s Church, I found this to be of equal delight, however on a much larger scale!

About the performanceNorthern Lights at York Minster

I attended the 7pm performance with my little girl, aged 4. The event itself is short enough to ensure we were home by bedtime. There was a fast-moving but long queue outside the Minster and I was glad that we had wrapped up, because it was windy and the Nave, due to its vastness, is chilly in the evenings. We filed in and everyone moved around filling up the space with some dashing to sit on the few rows of chairs on the edges of the inside of the building. We weren’t quite sure where to go or where to stand as we filed in, but it really makes no difference as all anyone needs to do it look up!

The event was really designed to be for a standing audience so bear this in mind if taking little ones. There was enough space to crouch or ‘bed down’ on the floor, but I’d suggest sitting or kneeling on a soft coat, blanket or in our case, soft gym bag, due to the hard and cold floor. There really isn’t much time to sit but with little ones there, they may well feel tired legs and want to sit to gaze up at the marvel this event really is. There was plenty of room for pushchairs and we spotted two prams with wide-eyed little ones ready to view!

The projection lasted 10 minutes, followed by a 5 minute break when we were encouraged to move around the Nave and gain a different perspective for the second viewing; this was the same projection and music show as the first, but I definitely recommend staying for this second round so as I definitely missed things the first time.

It was, simply spectacular

Animated images designed to fit with and reflect the shapes of the walls and the windows were clearly inspired the Minster’s stained glass and architectural features. The soundscapes were very powerful and effective; a combination of a song performed by the minster choir and selected biblical readings. In places, it was a little intense, (a loud thunder and rain scene, for example) and I feared my little one would be frightened, but darker images were momentary and soon brightened by colour and beautiful art. She was mesmerized and repeatedly whispered, ‘Wow! Mummy it’s amazing!’

The audience was mainly made up of adults but there were many families and children in some cases much younger than mine so I would say it is suitable for all ages. The area was in my view, accessible and there were plenty of staff supporting wheelchair users and the elderly. This is a truly sensory experience and was clearly inclusive for all, which is something I always look for at big public events.

One thing I would suggest is that once the event is complete, move toward the exit swiftly, as the Nave was very full and it took some time to file out of the Minster. Alternatively, linger in the Nave for ten minutes or so after the performance and enjoy the beauty of this building at night, so as not to wait in the crowds dispersing.

The event in a word?


Useful links & information

If you are even vaguely interested, you must go. Get tickets while you can, and if you’d like a bit more information about the venue and the lights and soundscapes, there are pre-show talks and tours, but tickets are selling fast.

For more information see the details on York Mumbler.
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given free tickets for the Northern Lights at York Minster in exchange for an honest review.

Swallows & Amazons, York Theatre Royal – A Mumbler Review

Guest Review by local Mumbler Ashley Parker

Arriving at Swallows & Amazons, York Theatre Royal

Arriving at Swallows & Amazons, York Theatre Royal

Find out what Mumbler Ashley and her six-year-old thought of the summer production at York Theatre Royal.

We were lucky enough to be invited to watch the York Theatre Royal production of Swallows and Amazons based on the children’s classic book and it certainly did not disappoint!

As the Mum of two boys (6 & 9), I was unsure whether it would be a little ‘old’ for the youngest and whether the older one would be very keen. As it turned out, my oldest son was unable to attend, so instead, I took the Grandmothers and my 6-year-old Flyn and we all left with a smile on our faces.

The seating is great, even for little ones

We sat in the dress circle which had a great view, but looking around the theatre, I’m not sure you can go far wrong in the theatre royal with seating; it all looks to be pretty viewer friendly. My little one grabbed a booster seat on the way in which are great for smaller viewers and eliminated any chance that he couldn’t see.

Before entering, the cast came out into the foyer and had a sing-song whilst playing their instruments which completely set the tone for the evening and prepared us for the magical, imaginative evening show ahead.

We pre-ordered interval drinks which I was glad about as the only slight downside was that it was incredibly hot within the theatre, so we were definitely ready for some hydration.

A very talented cast

The production is made up of a small and extremely talented cast…all of whom seemed to be able to multi-task beautifully whilst quickly setting the scene with a cleverly designed stage and minimal props. I had a little worry initially that my little boy would struggle with the improvisation, but he seemed totally mesmerised from the opening line and sat still for the entire production.

The music was lovely, and the characters were able to transport you along on their swallow adventure with total ease and there were plenty of laughs along the way!

Enjoyable for all ages

I’m not sure how easy it would have been for my 9 year old (nearly 10) to sit through enthusiastically, but my six-year-old son loved it and seemed to understand the story well. This is mainly based on their personal interests I guess, and I imagine that there are plenty of children within a broad age range who would really enjoy it – like anything it’s down to the individual.

Swallows & Amazons, York Theatre Royal

Swallows & Amazons, York Theatre Royal

There was a diverse age range within the audience, and it felt like a real family feel-good night out.
If you’re planning to catch this gem of a show, I would dress light because of the heat and take some water to your seat with you. There are a large range of drinks on offer at the bars and ice cream and snacks too.

Show dates & other activities at York Theatre Royal

The show is running from July 31st to August 24th with the addition of free crafts and activities every week in the foyer where you can make paper boats, flags and bunting…we will be going back for a visit to take advantage of this freebie.

There is also a Swallows vs Amazons Drama Challenge in the studio on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 1-2 pm which costs £5.

Useful links

For more information about York Theatre Royal see their website.
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

In The Willows at York Theatre Royal – A Mumbler Review

We were lucky enough to be invited along to see In The Willows at York Theatre Royal and wow, what a show!

In the Willows is a musical based on Wind in the Willows with a modern day twist. Portraying issues affecting today’s youth and sending important messages about acceptance and inclusion. It is bright and energetic with amazing street dancing and fantastic lyrics delivered in a hip hop style. Toad’s raps are particularly impressive!

Mole’s first day in The Willows. The kids look a bit rough. Surely Mr Badger will look out for her, while hip-hop cool girl Rattie, rich kid rapper Toad and street-dancing Otter teach her the ways of the Riverbank. But when Toad gets locked up for joyriding, the Weasel Clan break in and squat his pad, the Pool Hall. Now it’s only a matter of time before Chief Weasel reveals Mole’s dark secret.

We arrived early so enjoyed a drink in the Theatre Royal bar while the girls played in the dress up area. Our 5 year olds were beyond excited to be out past their bedtime (they managed to nap in the day so they could stay awake)! Cue lots of screeching and jumping around. They were so excited to take their seats and the moment the curtain lifted they were enthralled. The show started at pace and continued that way, everyone was hooked!

The cast were excellent, delivering a faultless performance. Otter is played by deaf street dancer Chris Fonseca (The Greatest Dancer) and the inclusion of sign language in the choreography and at the side of stage was impressive. Mr Badger is played by Olivier Award winner Clive Rowe and equally powerful were the performances of Ratty, Mole and Toad.

Wind In The Willows Production Photos
©The Other Richard

This is a fantastic show to treat the children to during the holidays. Our girls were singing and dancing all the way home.  The grown ups rather enjoyed it too!

The recommended age for In The Willows is 6+ which is about right as there’s a lot to take in and I think this would appeal right through the teen years especially to those who love music and dancing.  Our 5 year olds enjoyed it but much of the detail will have passed over their heads.

In The Willows is in the middle of a UK tour and it is only playing in York until Saturday so grab your tickets quickly and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! (Note, there is no performance on Good Friday)






Dates: Tue 16 Apr – Sat 20 Apr (no performance Good Friday)
Time: 7pm, matinees 2pm Thursday & Saturday
Ticket Information: From £18.50 | Family tickets available
Age Recommendations: 6+
Box office 01904 623568


Dirty Dancing at Grand Opera House – A Mumbler Review

Mumbler was invited along to the opening performance of Dirty Dancing at the Grand Opera House in York last night which is currently touring the UK.  As a busy mum, it was so good to have a rare night out just for me!

The iconic 1987 film featuring a host of well-known hit songs has been transformed for the stage and has seen success in two West End runs and three UK tours.

It’s the summer of 1963, and 17 year-old Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman is about to learn some major lessons in life as well as a thing or two about dancing.

On holiday in New York’s Catskill Mountains with her older sister and parents, she shows little interest in the resort activities, and instead discovers her own entertainment when she stumbles across an all-night dance party at the staff quarters. Mesmerised by the raunchy dance moves and the pounding rhythms, Baby can’t wait to be part of the scene, especially when she catches sight of Johnny Castle, the resort dance instructor.

Her life is about to change forever as she is thrown in at the deep end as Johnny’s leading lady both on-stage and off, and two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives.

We thought the show was very true to the film, featuring all the key scenes using the same dialogue as the film, not least  “I carried a watermelon” and “nobody puts Baby in the corner”.

It was fast paced, although felt that some scenes rushed from one to another to squeeze in the entire story.  There are so many memorable parts of the film and none were left out.  It had everything you would expect, the dancing, the iconic phrases and of course that lift!  They even managed to include the water scene!

If you’re after some fun with your friends then this may be the show for you.  Some of the scenes brought whoops from the crowd, often Jonny’s body (and bottom – you’ll have to go along to find out what I mean!) and his moves (Bruno from Strictly would have something to say about those hips!).  It also brought laughter at times, sometimes intentionally, sometimes perhaps not!

Don’t go along expecting a musical version of the film, it is more of a replica of the film with lots of music included.  There is dancing of course and the cast do a great job of all the dance scenes.  It also includes all of the feel good hits including ‘Hungry Eyes’, ‘Do You Love Me?’ and of course ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’ which will make you want to get up and dance!

If you need a good excuse for a night out and want some fun, round up your girlfriends, grab a drink and take a seat.  The show ended on a real high with the music and dancing really gripping the audience.  The finale brought some people to their feet to dance in the aisles and saw a standing ovation from others.

It is only showing until Saturday (13th Oct) so if this is one for you grab your tickets quickly.

I’m off to watch the film now!

Listing Information
Tue 9 – Sat 13 October 2018
York Grand Opera House
0844 871 3024
Tickets from £21.90