Bear Snores On

A winter frost covers the trees of the forest, a snow storm is brewing, and a tiny Mouse is looking for somewhere warm and safe to hide…a nearby cave could be the answer but what else does it hold? Something big and brown and fluffy? Grab your backpack and join Mouse on a theatrical journey as she finds fun, courage and a whole bunch of new animal friends.

Step into a world where nature comes alive amidst the enchanting setting of Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. The Bear Snores On isn't just a show for little ones - it is genuinely a great time for all ages, whether you attend as a family, with friends or even by yourself! 

Brimming with musical joy that will leave you tapping your feet, make sure you arrive with something warm to wear as well as your dancing shoes, as this performance takes place in both outdoor and indoor spaces, one of which is a new addition to the venue, overseen by head of stage Matt Day-Smith, and seems very multifunctional, so it would be great to see this stay for good as it could be used in so many different ways! A primary part of this is the fact it is set in the round, with the audience lining the walls of the circular auditorium, and the ‘stage’ placed in the middle. There are many seating options to choose from, and these have been curated with both younger people and their adults in mind. 

Composer Harry Blake's diverse score ensures there's something for everyone, with tunes that range from bops to ballads. There must be more variety of music genres here than in any other show of its kind.

Under the skilled direction of Cush Jumbo and Katy Sechiari, the production takes on an immersive quality, drawing you into the whimsical adventure where kiddos can get hands-on with the action! This takes place up close with the actors, but with clear boundaries established so that they remain energised without becoming too exuberant.

The vibrant costumes designed by Rebecca Brower are captivating and delightful, with a variety of colours on display, but that all come together to make a very calming palette, and with lots of interesting textures thrown into the mix. This reflects the other sensory elements of the show, which were a beautiful balance of thoughtful and tactile, and can be seen even before your tickets are scanned - with a themed interactive trail dotted around the park. 

The star of the show was by far the mesmerising puppetry, masterfully crafted by Maia Kirkman-Richards, who can only be described as a true magic maker. There are no adjectives that can fully capture the amazement you feel when the characters come to life, in more ways than one, and on a larger scale than you may realise - it must be experienced first hand! 

As the lovable protagonist, Lauren Conroy delivers a spectacular performance while Ashh Blackwood's vocals soar and Annabel Marlow keeps us all giggling throughout. 

Interwoven with the laughter and wonder, there's a beautiful message of bravery and teamwork, creating a sense of warmth that lingers even after the final curtain call. The Bear Snores On is a treasure not to be missed, and is only running until the 21st April so grab your tickets now: https://openairtheatre.com/production/bear-snores-on

Review written by Katie McConnell

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Photo credit: Marc Brenner

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