Mumbler Reviews York

Theatre & Show Reviews

Mumbler Review: Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book

This week, York Theatre Royal has 7 performances of a musical adaptation of the Julia Donaldson – Axel Scheffler book “Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book”. Mumbler Fiona headed to the first performance with a couple of Year 2 theatre critics to see what it’s all about!

Like many families with young children, we have several lovely Julia Donaldson books in our house, and have been lucky enough to have seen a few of them brought to life on stage at York Theatre Royal. For some reason, “Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book” had never crossed the threshold of this Mumbler home, so we decided to rectify that this week by going to see the stage adaptation this evening after school!

Charlie loves reading. Especially books about pirates. But his sister hates it – it’s boring! Can Charlie convince her that reading is fun? Perhaps if she reads a book about a pirate, who is reading a book about Goldilocks, who is reading a book about a knight…

This musical stage show invites the viewer to come and delve into a range of books with Charlie Cook – from pirates to jewel thieves, crocodiles to birds, not forgetting Goldilocks and a good old fashioned ghost story!Β  With two avid readers as my theatre dates, we were excited to see what sorts of storybooks were in store.

The show is a clever three-hander, with only bookworm Charlie, book-phobe sister Izzy and fun-but-weary Mum as the cast members. The show is further brought to life with brilliant puppetry and non-stop songs in various genres. It’s a fast-paced show, with dynamic performers who captivated their young audience. The show is certainly an action-packed hour!

I loved how some of the puppets used were very true to the Axel Scheffler illustration style (Owl and Dragon were my particular favourites), and we loved the creative ways that the puppet characters emerged from books themselves (often with books as their bodies). It was very cleverly done!


The verdict?

Our mini Mumbler reviewers (aged 7 and nearly 7) declared the show to be “phenomenal”, and that they would definitely recommend it to their friends and other children.

As a parent, I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed it too. It was engaging, fast-moving, funny and also occasionally played for laughs for the adults in the audience as well (I certainly identified with the “Mum” character several times in the show!).

You don’t need to have read the book to enjoy the show. We’d had a quick read-through last night to familiarise ourselves with the story, but the show can certainly be enjoyed in its own right.


Further Information:

πŸ“Β Venue:Β York Theatre Royal, St Leonard’s Place, York, YO1 7HD

πŸ“…Β Dates and times:Β There are 7 performances of this show in York – 1 show on Thursday 13th June 2024, then 3 shows on each of Friday 14th June 2024 and Saturday 15th June 2024 (full details of times here).Β  The show then continues its tour around the country at various venues until October – details of forthcoming performances here.

πŸ•™Β Performance running time: approx 1 hour.

🎟 Tickets: Tickets are priced at £16.50 for adults and £14 for children. Booking via the York Theatre Royal website here or at the Box Office.

πŸ‘Β Age guidance: The show is aimed at ages 3 – 8 years old.Β  This is pitched really well – the 7 year old Mumblers enjoyed it and picked up on some of the more sophisticated jokes, but younger viewers would love the spectacle too.Β  The theatre has booster seats available free of charge for smaller visitors – just pick one up on the way into the auditorium.

πŸ’œΒ Mumbler top tip:Β A Relaxed Performance of this production is on Friday 14th June at 10.30am.

🎭 Production details: This show is a Little Angel Theatre, Lowry and Rose Theatre co-production.


York Mumbler were gifted tickets for the press performance of this production by York Theatre Royal; however, views in this review are the reviewer’s own honest review of the show.

Professional production photos supplied by the York Theatre Royal press office, and used with permission.Β 

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