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REVIEW: Winnie the Pooh the musical (UK Tour, Glasgow)

Updated: May 7

King's Theatre, Glasgow

20 July 2023

⭐⭐⭐⭐


Disney Winnie the pooh musical stage theatre show UK tour 2023

"Disney’s iconic Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin and their best friends Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, and Owl (oh... and don’t forget Tigger too!) have come to life in a beautifully crafted musical stage adaptation.


Featuring the Sherman Brothers’ classic Grammy Award-winning music with further songs by A.A. Milne, this beautiful fresh stage adaptation is told with stunning life-sized puppetry through the eyes of the characters we all know and love, in a new story from the Hundred Acre Wood."


The cast of Disney Winnie the pooh musical stage theatre show UK tour 2023 Photo: Pamela Raith

This stage production of Winnie the Pooh features all the celebrated characters from A. A. Milne's beloved books brought to life through stunning life-size puppets by Rockefeller Productions.


The set for The Hundred Acre Wood is beautifully presented and perfectly lit. There's the bridge for playing pooh-sticks, Rabbit's garden for planting seeds, and lots of trees for bees and honey to hide in.


The actors who manage the puppets work incredibly hard to steer their characters across the set where they interact with one another in a collection of well-known escapades from the books and films.

The cast of Disney Winnie the pooh musical stage theatre show UK tour 2023 Photo: Pamela Raith

Whilst his human friend Christopher Robin is at school, Pooh is left to fend for himself and must rely on the help of his animal friends Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, Piglet, Eeyore Tigger and Owl to help him find some honey. Along the way, the gang face various challenges and even meet a new friend or two.


The theme of friendship runs through the entire show and there are some strong messages for the young audience to learn.


Friends can be different.

Friends can help one another.

It's great to welcome new friends.

Friends can have disagreements but come together to work it out...

- and so on. Lessons that some adults may need reminding of as well!


The cast are fantastic. It's impossible not to watch their facial expressions as well as those of their cuddly companions, and it seemed like everyone was fully committed to making the puppets seem as real as possible.


Indeed, I spoke to the cast briefly backstage and they would not break character despite my best attempts! It's commendable and adorable.


The cast of Disney Winnie the pooh musical stage theatre show UK tour 2023 at Glasgow King's theatre with Lisa in the Theatre

All of the puppets are sensational and it's no surprise to read that they have been nominated for awards. The sheer size of some of them is astonishing and this commitment (and no doubt high cost!) is what sets this production apart from other children's shows.


The puppets can be seen clearly wherever they are on stage and their eye-catching, attention-grabbing beauty is the highlight of the show.


This may well be some children's first live theatre experience, and seeing these puppets is not something they are likely to forget. I said 'wow' out loud a few times and this is not my first rodeo.


The cast of Disney Winnie the pooh musical stage theatre show UK tour 2023 Photo: Pamela Raith

Whilst not really a musical in the typical sense, the Sherman brothers charming songs do feature throughout the show. The stand-out numbers are the Winnie the Pooh theme song, 'The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers', 'Rumbbly in my Tumbly' and The Whoop-de-dooper Bounce. I'd struggle to recall any of the other songs to be honest but these classics were good enough for me and even better, some of them were repeated. The creative team know how to play to their strengths!


It should be noted that the music and the vocals of the actors on stage are very quiet, even lulling - I found the whole show very relaxing - and there are no loud noises, scares or flashing lights anywhere in the one-hour play.


The cast of Disney Winnie the pooh musical stage theatre show UK tour 2023 Photo: Pamela Raith

I wonder if this has been a deliberate choice to make it more accessible. I did notice at the start that the auditorium lights were lowered very slowly over a matter of minutes - no sudden darkness as usually heralds the start of a show.


But whilst the action on stage was calm and peaceful, the auditorium was not. This is a children's show, aimed at a young audience, and as such there was much more noise, chatter and occasional wailing than would usually be tolerated at the theatre. It was sometimes difficult to hear the performance over the din coming from the house.


The show is only one hour long however and I found it charming, captivating and funny. But then I didn't have a child to entertain and I could easily zone out any distractions. Some children sitting in front of me could not do this and were constantly turning back to see what the noise was all about whilst missing the action on stage. Much to their grandparents dismay!


The cast of Disney Winnie the pooh musical stage theatre show UK tour 2023 Photo: Pamela Raith

It's a difficult balance and I felt the show did need 'something' to help refocus attentions to the stage. I know it's not panto but maybe a little audience interaction, a singalong or a clap-along would've helped engage and bewitch.


I would recommend this show to anyone who has children to entertain this summer holiday and I will especially recommend it my friend with an autistic child.


But you should think about your own situation and your own child - you know them best. How likely are they to be engaged by a peaceful, albeit beautiful, live stage show?


The child in me was certainly enthralled and delighted, but it is undeniably a gentle, perhaps more wholesome form of entertainment than many kids may be used to nowadays.


⭐⭐⭐⭐


📸 Production photos: Pamela Raith photography


 
Winne the pooh on stage

Winne the Pooh CAST


Pooh - Benjamin Durham

Tigger - Alex Cardall

Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl - Harry Boyd

Piglet - Lottie Grogan

Kanga - Chloe Gentles


CREATIVE TEAM


This production is created by renowned family entertainment creator Jonathan Rockefeller, and made by Rockefeller Productions alongside Disney Theatrical Productions.


The puppetry in this production received a Drama Desk nomination for Best Puppetry Design.


 

TICKETS


Winnie the Pooh plays the King's Theatre, Glasgow from Thursday 20 to Saturday 22 July 2023 with multiple show times each day.
🎟️ Tickets here: www.atgtickets.com

Manchester and York

🎟️ Tickets here: www.atgtickets.com



 

SEE MORE ON MY INSTAGRAM


📽️ There are some great videos from my visit to meet Winnie and friends on my Instagram. Take a look here: https://www.instagram.com/lisa_inthetheatre/


Winnie the Pooh: the musical review, The King's Theatre Glasgow, 2023


🎟️ Disclosure: I was invited to Winnie the Pooh by ATG Glasgow and received a complimentary ticket in exchange for an honest review. Whether I am invited or not has absolutely no impact on my reviews or star ratings.


 

📧 For media and review requests contact Lisa_InTheTheatre@outlook.com

💗 Follow @Lisa_InTheTheatre on Instagram


Lisa in the Theatre, UK theatre and arts blogger, review website.

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