REVIEW: Luna Loves Library Day, Little Seeds Music and Z-Arts (Lyric Hammersmith)

Little Seeds Music is on a mission to create high quality musical experiences that can be shared by all generations. Their latest production for families is an adaptation of Luna Loves Library Day, a picture book by Children’s Laureate, Joseph Coelho and illustrator Fiona Lumbers. After premiering at Manchester’s Z-Arts in 2023, the show is currently out on tour across the country. We checked it out on its stop at London’s Lyric Hammersmith.

Luna always looks forward to library day; not only does she get to bring back her latest books and swap them for a new selection for next week, but she also gets to have a fun afternoon escaping into magical world with her family. And these days that means spending extra special time with Dad. Luna’s Mum and Dad don’t live together anymore, so library day isn’t quite the same as it used to be, but it’s starting to take on a new significance; not only is it a place where Luna can connect with her Dad, but through the safety net of stories she’s able to safely explore her feelings.

It’s a lovely story (the first in a series of books exploring family separation) which has been nicely adapted into a stage show suitable for touring into small spaces like libraries. The fold up set (designed by Nomi Everall) is great fun, with lots of little puppetry surprises. The plot has depth, celebrating libraries being more than just buildings to house books, as well as exploring the power of social stories to help children work through difficult issues.

Luna Loves Library Day Little Seeds Music. Image credit: Darren Robinson

As we would expect from Little Seeds Music (creators of Rolling Down the Road), the music (by composer and musical director, David Gibb) has been carefully crafted to enhance the narrative. This is not a piece of children’s theatre with some songs thrown in. The music is an integral part of the production, just like any other piece of musical theatre, and the songs are enjoyable for all ages. They are also performed brilliantly by a cast of three, which includes an impressive professional debut by Yasmina Barraoui as Luna, alongside Damien James as her Dad and Nicki Davy doubling up as Mum and a librarian.

The production is well directed by Demot Daly, making good use of audience participation (and the tried and tested children’s theatre secret ingredient – a bubble machine!) The youngsters in the audience at the Lyric were highly engaged throughout, with many children on their feet dancing during the upbeat songs. In another really nice touch, children are also handed a “library card” at the start of the show, which they can then get stamped on the way out.

Overall, Luna Loves Library Day is a lovely little show which fittingly uses the magic of theatre to celebrate the library as a transformative social space. Fun for all the family, you will leave with a library card in your pocket and a song stuck in your head!

Luna Loves Library Day plays at Lyric Hammersmith on Saturday 10 February 2024 as part of a UK tour. We received a complimentary press ticket to the reviewed performance.

Image credit: Darren Robinson