REVIEW: Rolling Down the Road (Half Moon Theatre)

This Autumn we’re on a mission to track down the best family friendly theatre that London has to offer. (Admittedly, we’re always on a mission to do this. But this time it comes with a hashtag: #AwesomeAutumn. Which makes it sound far more official. ) The first stop on our Awesome Autumn adventure also happened to be our very first visit to the lovely Half Moon Theatre. Mummy is rather pleased with her artsy looking photograph of said lovely building. So here it is in all its glory:

After admiring the architecture, we headed on in to see family musician David Gibb in his new show Rolling Down the Road. If (as we were before last Saturday) you are unfamiliar with David Gibb, we would thoroughly recommend checking out his stuff on Spotify or YouTube. Particularly if you are sick of listening to nursery rhymes / Baby Shark / George Ezra’s Shotgun / [insert annoying thing that your children listen to] on repeat. David’s website describes his music as “for little people, big people and everyone else in between”. And it very much is. Covering a range of musical styles from folk and jazz to rock’n’roll and reggae, these toe-tapping tunes are filled with catchy but clean lyrics, and far easier on adult ears than most of the plinky plonky stuff on YouTube aimed at children.

In Rolling Down the Road, David plays the role of conductor (of the bus variety, but he is also very much in charge of the musical proceedings). Although predominantly a concert, the show is themed around introducing the passengers on his magical, musical double-decker bus. As the windows of the bus light up to reveal the passengers, they are welcomed aboard with their own special song. There is plenty of audience participation to keep small people engaged, with the tickets to the show cleverly doubling up as bus tickets (which are used throughout the show and stamped on the way out).

David is joined on stage by two musician mates, and between the three they manage to play an impressive array of instruments during the hour long set. Crotchet was particularly pleased to see David pick up a ukelele, which she is currently learning in school. It’s a great introduction to musical instruments and live music for young audiences. It’s recommended for ages 3-11 but the relaxed nature of the show makes it fine for bringing younger siblings too. We would suggest that it’s probably most suitable for 3-7 year olds. Although she did enjoy the songs, Crotchet (an almost 8 year old who swings between acting like a toddler and a teenager) was a bit hesitant about joining in with some of the actions. We can imagine that some of her more mature classmates would have thought themselves too cool for school, particularly as the show began with a spin* on the classic Wheels on the Bus (*pun initially unintended but very much enjoyed by Mummy when it occurred to her) .

Although the magical, musical bus is currently in the depot for the winter, David and co will be rolling down the road again next year. If you didn’t manage to make it to Half Moon, check out the bus timetable on his website to see where he will stop next.

Rolling Down the Road played at the Half Moon Theatre from 26 – 28 September 2019 and will be on tour next spring.