Mumbler Reviews York

Theatre & Show Reviews

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.

The Magic Hatter’s Christmas Cracker, York: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Claire

York Mumbler Claire and her family recently went to see the Magic Hatter’s Christmas Cracker in York. Find out what she thought about it in her brilliant review, plus lots of useful information. 

Fun filled festive cheer for all the family!

What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than a festive magic show. We took our children aged 3 and 5 to see the Magic Hatter’s Christmas Cracker and what a treat it was! This was a first for us and it did not disappoint!

The Magic Hatter had our children enthralled from the start. With magic, lots of jokes (it is called the Christmas Cracker!), storytelling and songs, the Magic Hatter packs so much into one show. There’s plenty of opportunity for audience participation throughout which maintains the attention of children of all ages. There were also special guests including one famous scarlet clad visitor, much to the children’s delight!

If you are planning to see the show this weekend, put on your Christmas jumpers, elf costumes or Santa hats and get into the festive spirit. It’s a great way to ramp up the Christmas excitement and there’s plenty of laughs for the entire family.

Finally, there is a photo opportunity with the Magic Hatter and Father Christmas at the end so do allow extra time for that and remember, be festive!

Good to know…

The show is in the Hive theatre at Manor School. The seating is tiered so don’t worry if your seats are near the back as you will still have a great view.

The show is 1.5hrs long which includes a 15 min interval. Snacks and refreshments are available before the show and during the interval.

Free parking is available at the school, get there early for a space.

There are only a few tickets left so if you would like to go book quickly!

Useful links & information

  • To see this amazing show, you need to be quick as the last day is Sunday 8th December 10.30 til 12 noon and 3.30 til 5.00pm.
  • The show is in the HIVE Studios, at Manor CE Academy, York
  • Ticket prices: Adults £9, Children £8, Family of Four £30

For more information about the Magic Hatter’s Christmas Cracker see the details on York Mumbler.
For more Mumbler reviews of the shows and attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.
The Magic Hatter is WINNER of York’s Best Birthday Party Entertainer 2016, 2017 AND 2018! Find out more information here..




Disclaimer: York Mumbler were given complimentary tickets for The Magic Hatter’s Christmas Cracker 2019 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.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf at York Theatre Royal: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumblers, Jo & Rebecca

York Mumblers Jo and Rebecca went along with their children to York Theatre Royal to enjoy the performance of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Find out what they thought about it, plus lots of useful information in their great review.

The brilliant Tutti Fruti children’s theatre company have created a wonderful, funny, warm and engaging take on the classic moral tale of the Boy Who Cried Wolf for York Theatre Royal. The hour-long performance had the children gripped the whole way through.

If you are a fan of the famed story, or a fan of the theatre, or even if you’ve never tried a live show with your little ones before, you really cannot miss this fantastic production. It is an absolute delight from start to finish and with a duration of one hour, it was perfectly timed for children aged 3 and above.

A beautiful show was performed by three distinctive and talented performers, who had the audience enthralled from the moment you entered the Studio at York Theatre Royal. A great feature of this performance was the immediate interaction with the actors as we found our seats, which enabled all ages to feel connected and involved in the performance. Look out for the Knitters as you enter!

All about the show

Howling wolves, competitive knitting villagers, snowy mountains and some hilarious dancing sheep come together in a lively performance that includes live music and some clever stage props to tell the story of a young boy who is forced to take over from his Grandfather as the family shepherd and tend to his wayward flock. The boy, freezing on the mountainside while the villagers below celebrate the winner of the winter jumper competition, inevitably cries wolf and the rest is history – albeit without any gory endings. The stage set is clever and simple and the music, snow effects and frequent costume changes are excellent.

The three actors seamlessly switched roles from villagers to the anticipated family of the story, to very entertaining sheep and the dreaded wolves – the latter subtly so as not to frighten little ones (to our great relief!).

The clever wool themed and artistic scenery and attractive colourful props coupled with beautiful lighting effects helped to cast illuminations, shadows and shapes to enhance the atmosphere.

Then there were the songs: multiple catchy singalong originals, not only sung in three-part harmonies but with the performers using a variety of delightful instruments. This was a treat for the children who stared in wonder and tapped their toes along happily. What a talented cast they are!

Truly engaging for little ones and adults alike, there were visual treats and colourful surprises right up until the end.

Spoiler alert: Look out for the hilarious sheep dancing and antics which had us laughing out loud!

About the Studio Theatre

The Boy Who Cried Wolf is staged in the Studio Theatre – with only three rows, the setting is lovely and intimate with guaranteed good views from all seats. It’s not an audience participation show, so there’s no danger of being picked on if you’re sitting on the front row.

Perfect for little theatre-goers 

The children were mesmerised throughout. We had been a little concerned about whether they would sit still for an hour’s performance, but one of the great ‘mum reliefs’ about a performance like this is that the audience is relaxed; children do talk and sometimes they shout things out and need the toilet and ask for a cuddle,  and it’s all okay- no one minds. Any little interruptions certainly didn’t deter these three fantastic professionals who charmed us with their tight and constant performance of song, dance, witty impressions and a beautiful interpretation of a well loved children’s story. They certainly did it proud!

To sum up the show…

Jo rounded up by saying:

“If you’re looking for a special treat for your little one this autumn, I’d highly this modern reworking of the well-known Aesop’s fable – it’s ideal for children aged 3 and above. Funny, clever and highly entertaining; make sure you catch it while it’s on!”

And Rebecca said:

“I would rate this with a full 5 glowing stars and strongly recommend it to all Mumblers. Quality theatre productions like this should reach all our little ones and become treasured memories for them. Get your ticket quickly as you really don’t want to miss this treat for the eyes and ears!”

Useful links & information

  • The performance runs from Sat 28 Sep – Sat 12 Oct
  • Suitable for children aged 3+
  • Running time 55 mins and is in The Studio, York Theatre Royal
  • Performances at 6 pm and with matinees on Thursdays at 11 am and Saturdays at 11 am and 1.30 pm
  • Tickets from £10 per person

For more information and to book tickets visit the York Theatre Royal website here.

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

NB. Jo & Rebecca were gifted tickets to the Press night of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, but all views are their own – we pinky promise that we always provide honest reviews to Mumblers 💜

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