Winnie the Pooh: UK Tour review

 Winnie the Pooh is undoubtably a national treasure in my eyes. It's an age old classic based on the beloved tales of A.A Milne. His whimsical nature, love of adventure, and heartwarming personality makes this bear and his friends one that is full of nostalgia for young and old. 

After trying his hand at TV, films, books, meet and greets, merchandise (the list goes on!), this wonderful bear and his pals are now trying their hand at something new. A musical on stage! And let's just say this show has everything that a little child and big child could ever want in a honey shaped pot. Following a residency at London's Riverside Studio's, Winnie the Pooh is now embarking on a UK tour. Opening at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton before continuing onto various venues around the country, I couldn't wait to meet the Hundred Acre Wood gang and see what adventure they got up to. 

The story opens with the bear himself, looking for his friend Christopher Robin as his awaits his daily pot of honey. Upon finding that Christopher Robin is actually at school today, Pooh must go on an adventure of his own to find some delicious honey. Along the way he meets all of his favourite friends including Eeyore, Tigger, and Piglet and causes all kinds of havoc and mischief along the way. Throughout the show you are introduced to the four seasons, with perfectly placed fun and games to represent each one. From snowmen, to pooh sticks, there is something for everyone to enjoy watching. 

The characters themselves are portrayed by amazing puppets. Brought to life by the team at Rockerfeller Productions, it's a marvellous way to present these characters on stage. They dub the performers as painters of Christopher Robin's mind, by helping bring these giant puppets to life. Benjamin Durham portrayed the loveable Winnie the Pooh, and his voice acting was spot on, nailing the bumbling bear with ease. Whilst Harry Boyd performed as Eeyore, Rabbit and Owl and was able to adapt himself both physically and vocally to each character. Lottie Grogan was Piglet and Roo, the little characters that make a huge impact! Laura Bacon was Kanga, and perfect as the wise matriarch of the group. And finally was Robbie Noonan, arguably our favourite of the bunch as Tigger. His energy was perfectly matched with that of his character and he won us away. The talent of all of the puppeteers on stage is second to none and I honestly marvel and admire that they can do this on stage time and time again. 

Whilst billed as a musical, I feel that the show came across more like a play that had accompanying songs. With classics such as 'The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers' and newer songs and ditties, you can easily forget that this is a fully fledged musical as you are whisked away in the story. I was won over by the thought provoking and almost philosophical quips that Pooh would utter throughout the show, and whilst this is predominantly a show for kids, you can easily see how it can win the heart of grown ups too. The staging was perfectly whimsical and fun and allowed the audience to immerse themselves in the world of the characters. With clever props and lighting changes, you watched magic happen before your eyes. 

Timed at just over an hour long, this show is a perfect introduction to theatre for younger audience members. There were several sat around us in awe that their favourite characters were live on stage. Whilst the story might not be too original, the heart of the show is one that you won't be forgetting in a hurry. The perfect hour of escapism, nostalgia and entertainment for the whole family. Get yourself down to the Hundred Acre Wood before it moves on to it's next adventure!

Winnie the Pooh is running at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton until 4th June 23, before continuing on a UK tour. 

For more info and for tickets click here: Winnie the Pooh UK & Ireland Tour

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