By Esmee Stimson
My children and I have always enjoyed reading the book ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ together and we were delighted to find it was coming to the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft this Easter.
‘Guess How Much I Love You’ is the classic tale about two Hares called Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare. Since it was first published by Walker Books in 1994, Guess How Much I Love You, written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram, has been translated into 53 languages and sold more than 23 million copies worldwide. This family favourite is brought to life by the Selladoor Family, the Producers behind James and the Giant Peach, Seussical and The Quite Remarkable Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat for our family adventures.
The tale centres around the Nutbrown Hares competing in a game to measure their love for one another until Little Nutbrown Hare falls asleep. Big Nutbrown Hare’s heart-warming declaration to Little Nutbrown Hare, “I love you right up to the moon – and back”, has helped this story become a way of saying ‘I love you’ all over the world.
The book adopts a simple but charismatic and enchanting tale of the two hares ,expressing how much they love each other which has been enjoyed by young children and parents for the last 24 years, enjoying not only the simple yet meaningful words, but also enjoying the beautiful illustrations. So I was intrigued to see how such a short story with such beautiful illustrations could be brought to the theatre.
My four year old and I weren’t disappointed and we were both totally engrossed in the play from the beginning as Little & Big Nutbrown Hare settled down after a bedtime story and re-awoke to discover the delights and colours of each season of nature. The children in the audience took great delight when the Nutbrown Hares were visiting Winter and it began to snow.
The performance was really easy to follow for young children
Nutbrown Hares Big and Little were joined by an observer/interpreter in the form of a little girl who was a charismatic character and introduced the story well.
The Nutbrown Hare’s story was told with the help of some very good Puppets and clever set design. The woodland set was quite simple with just a few trees and some plants, but the puppets and the scenery diverted any attention away from this. My son really liked the Butterflies, Frog and Ladybird.
‘Guess How much I Love You’ was a fun, vibrant, energetic and playful interpretation of the books
I really appreciated how the children were encouraged to join in with the songs and the actions.
Overall the production is very accessible to young children; the audience was full of 2-5 year olds all of whom seemed to be totally engrossed by the play. The children were encouraged to sing and dance along, play hide and seek and spot different colours. There was a new song for each little event in nature’s calendar before the show wound down with the moonlit love-in of Sam McBratney’s story.
The show was roughly 50 minutes long with no interval, which always proves to be a good format for young children. Performances which are too long or drawn out can cause children to get twitchy and during intervals young children can often lose interest and forget the plot and momentum of the play.
There really couldn’t be a better way to start the Easter holidays than watching a heart warming story about two Hares who clearly love each other very much.
Time of show 50 minutes with no interval
‘Guess How Much I Love You’ is on at the Marina Theatre 28th March 10.30am and 4.30pm
Full Price: £15
Privilege Card Holders: £13
Schools and Group Rate £9.75
Recommended for children 3+
In the foyer there was ‘Guess how much I love you’ books and merchandise for sale along with drinks, ice creams and sweets.