Review: Shaun’s Big Show (Theatre Royal, Brighton, until Sunday, July 17)

YOU will hardly baa-lieve it, but one of TV’s best-loved children’s characters makes the transition from small screen to stage to the manner Shaun.

Originally a spin-off from the Wallace and Gromit animated tale A Close Shave, Shaun the Sheep’s live stage show is an ovine treat for youngsters and adults alike – the madcap antics guaranteed to give the kids a giggle, but likely to delight the older audience members as well.

There’s no great plot – just Shaun and his woolly friends breaking into just about every type of dance you can imagine, whether that be tap, ballet, or Irish Riverdance. The resulting Shaun’s Big Show is mutton dressed as pure ham, with the sheep, the naughty pigs, Bitzer the sheepdog, tiny Timmy, and even the short-sighted farmer and his niece discovering the joys of music and dance in increasingly surreal and show-stopping set-pieces.

Evergreen writer/director David Wood does a superb job of translating the Emmy and Bafta award-winning TV modelling clay into lovable and energetic stage characters, helped by choreographer Bill Deamer’s wicked imagination (a farmyard version of Swan Lake and an outrageous recreation of Dirty Dancing being just two of the highlights), and designer Susie Caulcutt’s faithful representations of the Aardman originals.

A pitifully small first night audience were at least extremely enthusiastic as Shaun (Mark Williamson) and the gang showed off their dance moves – a truly stunning array of versatility which impressed the grown-ups (especially those who recognised the tunes and appreciated the references) and must surely have introduced young ones to a cornucopia of dance styles.

Baa-rilliant, clever and shear entertainment, let’s hope plenty give this delightful show a try – and if you’re curious, well just check EweTube first! It’s simply funtastic.

David Guest