Last night, my 8 year old and I were invited to the Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent to watch Tom Gates Live on Stage! and we had such a fabulous time.
N.B. We were gifted 2 tickets to this show for the purpose of this review.
Liz Pichon’s best selling Tom Gates books have been brought to the stage by the Birmingham Stage Company, the fabulous theatre company who are also behind the stage production of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny, the Horrible Histories stage shows (read our Horrible Histories review here) and more. The show is perfectly pitched at its target audience (about 7-13) and brings the light-hearted fun and frolics of the books to the stage superbly.
The storyline is simple and easy to follow with a few sub-plots running alongside each other that are all perfectly drawn together in the final scene. The casting is spot-on, especially from those playing Tom and his friends who have clearly worked very hard to bring the primary school aged characters to life in a seemingly effortless manner, seamlessly transitioning between different roles. The music that underpins the scene changes is perfect for the show and the songs, sung by Tom and his band “The DogZombies” are cleverly written and extremely catchy – we were singing The School Dinner Blues all the way home!
The real star of the show for me, however, is the set and animations. It’s a simple concept but is so incredibly clever. Liz Pichon’s trademark illustrations have been animated and are projected onto a backdrop with various openings used for doors/windows/washing machines etc. At all times, the actors work in perfect timing with the animations, most notably when the children are doodling and a brilliant car journey sequence. Throughout the show it really does feel like you have landed smack bang in the middle of one of the books.
Tom Gates Live on Stage! is a perfect family-friendly show which we can highly recommend. It manages to entertain both children and adults alike and we had big smiles on our faces from start to finish!
Tom Gates Live on Stage! is at the Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent until Saturday 2nd November. You can get your tickets here. It then moves on to York, Nottingham, Manchester and Swindon before finishing its run in Newtown on 7th December. Find out more by visiting the Birmingham Stage Company website.
If you’re looking for more family-friendly theatre in Staffordshire why not get tickets for the Regent Theatre pantomime which this year is Sleeping Beauty. You can read our review of last year’s Regent Theatre pantomime, Robin Hood, here.