Review: Dear Zoo Live

*I received complimentary tickets in return for this honest review

There is one particular book that Violet likes to hear every night, over and over and that is Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. It is her ultimate favourite book – ever. We’ve read it so many times I can now read it backwards, forwards, I know every letter, every animal, every detail. Sometimes I realise I’m reading it without even looking at the page, but that’s Violet’s favourite as then she gets to turn the pages and lift the flaps all on her own. When I saw Dear Zoo had been made into a live stage show I just knew we HAD to get tickets – I couldn’t wait to see her favourite book be brought to life and how she would react.

So, last week we headed over to Eastbourne, which was our closest theatre for their UK tour and it was perfectly timed with V’s week off work for a little family adventure too. We don’t often go to Eastbourne so it was nice to get away from Brighton for a bit and a change to scenery too! It was a bright, sunny morning and the beach looked beautiful – I’d love to come back and enjoy it more in the summer.

We found a spot to park and the first thing we saw around the back of the theatre was a huge ‘Dear Zoo’ lorry – so we took Violet over to have look. She recognised it straight away and she was so excited! We ‘stroked’ the lion and had some pictures before going into the show.

For a Monday morning the theatre was pretty busy, it’s clearly a popular choice! We took to our seats and got comfy for the show.

The story begins and it’s just like the book. The characters take you through the story, each animal at a time. It is simple and sweet, with a little bit of added story and a few songs around each animal to truly capture their attention and a little bit of audience participation too. Each time a crate was wheeled out onto stage there was an air of anticipation from the children as to what was inside.

I wouldn’t say it was the most gripping or innovative theatre production I’ve ever seen, but it didn’t need to be – for little children it was just perfect. Violet seemed amazed to see her favourite characters coming to life on the stage, making the animal noises, pointing and laughing at each one, especially her favourite – the puppy at the end.

I’d have thought it would be tricky to get two very little children to sit through a theatre production without getting restless and tired, but they loved it. They were entertained from start to finish without a peep.

If you’d like to see Dear Zoo Live, they are travelling up and down the UK at the moment, so check their website to find a theatre near you!


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