This week, my little babes and I were lucky enough to be invited to a press showing of We’re Going On A Bear Hunt at The Lowry based on the classic children’s story by Michael Rosen.

It was such a massive privilege to be asked. I couldn’t believe my luck, to be honest. As I’ve said before, we do not have much spare cash these days, so to be offered a free day out during the summer holiday was a real blessing, let me tell you. The fact that it was a story we love and one my own Bear has studied during his first year at school, made it all the more exciting.

Found our first Bear.

The Lowry asked me for some social media coverage but did not ask for a review, so this is my own opinion and one that I hope you’ll trust.

The show itself was absolutely fantastic. For those of you who have tickets, I won’t give away too many spoilers. There’s a few, fun little surprises that will make the kids howl with laughter, but suffice to say, you want to be close to the action to really experience it.

When the lights first came up and I saw the three easels on the stage, I’ll be honest, I was worried. With Bear and Bunni being just 2 and 5, I wondered if it was going to be a performance that was too artsy and out of reach, but I need not have panicked. My two were invested from the get go.

The staging was sparse and the effects seemingly minimal but that made it all the more interesting for me and the kids. They engaged with it and bought into the world that was literally being created for them before their eyes. They saw a river where there were buckets, a cave where there were boxes, put their little hands out to touch the snow made by swirling ribbons & lights, and literally felt the rain. *winkwink*

After quite the journey, for the characters and the audience, we finally meet the Bear, who is not at all the ferocious and frightening beast who we keep hearing growl somewhere off in the distance. Quite the contrary, he greets the family of explorers with a warm and welcoming ‘hello’ and offers open arms. He is cuddly and sweet looking and every inch the gentle teddy Bear who only wants to hug and be loved. Sadly, he is not met with much warmth in return, which both myself and the kids found quite upsetting (despite knowing how the story ended already).

The star of the show for me was undoubtedly the dog, Buddy. Buddy was comical and talented, providing almost all the sound effects and musical accompaniment and doing so with a flick of a foot and a cheeky grin that made it all the more enjoyable. The actor playing Buddy reminded me of Neil Patrick Harris’ version of Lemony Snicket, while he’s incognito, conducting his dastardly deeds. Hats off to you my friend.

As someone with an arts background, I really hope this has sparked an interest for performance with my babes and it would appear that it has. Bear and Bunni are still talking about the show and have taken to recreating sections, where I (or anyone willing to participate) am the audience. ‘Mummy, how many not’s are there in the we are not-not song?’

I look forward to whatever magical world we are transported to next.

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