Room on the Broom by Julia McDonald and Axel Scheffler is Freddie’s favourite story. He’d listen to it every bedtime if we let him. When the TV adaptation was shown at Christmas we recorded it, and he has watched it over and over. He knows it word for word.
So when we saw that a stage production of it was coming to Buxton Opera House we knew we had to try taking him. We weren’t at all sure how he’d tolerate the theatre experience — he’s never been before. His attention span is still quite short, and he’s a typically lively, fidgety boy who just has to be ‘busy’ all the time. Also, the theatre adaptation differs to the original — it has been added to and embellished, with songs and additional dialogue; we were a little worried at how he’d react when it differed to what he expected. We booked anyway, and crossed our fingers.
On the morning of the trip we told him where we were going — explaining that it was a play with people dressed up as characters from Room on the Broom, and puppets, singing songs about the story. He seemed quite excited, and all the way there kept asking: ‘where going now?’ and ‘see Room on the Broom?’
We were up in the stalls, looking down on the action, but he refused to wear his glasses. Under the circumstances I didn’t want to push the issue, and since he’s slightly long-sighted hoped he might be alright without. When the lights went down, he climbed onto Daddy’s knee — and sat there, quiet and still, apparently enthralled. He was as good as gold, until the boy in the row in front stood up (it didn’t seem to occur to his parents to tell him to sit down). Freddie had to crane his neck to see, then, and started fidgeting and asking to sit on Mummy’s knee. I was on the end of the row, and as soon as Freddie got onto my lap he tried to wriggle off and escape — some children were standing at the front of the balcony and I think he wanted to go and join them. He wouldn’t have been tall enough to see over, so Big Sister persuaded him to sit on her knee instead, from where he would have an uninterrupted view. She hugged him close; with his beloved Big Sister as a backrest, he settled down again and even joined in with some of the ‘catchphrases’.
As a reward for being such a good boy, Daddy bought him a little toy witch. He was highly delighted — he loves witches. Big Sister found a stick to use as a broom, and so the witch flew home through the park next to the Pavilion Gardens.
In the light of this successful experience I think we might be able to brave a trip to the cinema, for Kids AM on a Saturday morning, when they show children’s films for £1.50 a go. Oh, and we’ll be able to take him to a pantomime at Christmas — that will be magical for him. I’m really looking forward to that.