Despite spending a year living just a 5 minute walk away in the middle of Cardiff, I'd never actually visited Sherman Cymru, one of Cardiff's hidden gems, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect when Squeaky & I wer invited to attend the very first showing of Corina Pavlova and the Lion's Roar, their Christmas show aimed at children aged 3-6. In fact, not only had I never visited, but I wasn't even 100% sure where I was going, so I was very grateful for Cardiff Council's little brown tourism signs which lead me right to the door. Parked my car in a very big puddle, and we were there.
The Sherman is a modern theatre, nestled in amongst university buildings on one of Roath's lovely tree-lined streets (great unless you have to park your car there every day, as I learned to my peril), with a welcoming cafe-bar in the foyer. I wish I'd had a bit more time to browse their cakes, but it was one of those very busy days, and we only just made it to the theatre on time. We were ushered into Theatre 2, an informal performance space, and sat down on the kind of tiny chairs more commonly seen in classrooms, alongside a few fellow bloggers, local press types, and a local primary school.
Corina Pavlova is a young girl, whose family has just grown with the arrival of her baby brother, who she's not exactly excited to meet, and is having difficulty getting used to. She pays a visit to Mr McAlistair's Pet Shop, a magical shop with "Cats and Dogs, Fleas and Frogs, Lemurs, Llamas, Rats in Pyjamas"... where the customers don't choose their pets, the pets choose their owners, guaranteed to make sure everyone ends up with their perfect pet. Corina meets a cheeky monkey, a hilarious French-accented snake, and the lion of the title. While it doesn't *sound* like a Christmas play, there's a Christmas theme throughout, and the focus on family and family relationships is definitely a seasonal one.
The whole play was performed by just three, multi-talented actors, singing, dancing & playing a veritable orchestra of instruments - I counted a clarinet, flute, recorder, accordion, glockenspiel, xylophone (yes, I do know the difference!) and shaking eggs, and I've probably missed a few there! There was also plenty of opportunity for little ones to get involved, tuning in their ears and mouths, not forgetting the all important ROAR!!
Squeaky & I loved the show, once she stopped asking me what was about to happen & watched to find out for herself instead. It did get a little scary towards the end, so if you've got a more sensitive child, be prepared for some gentle cwtching!
At about an hour's show, it was spot on for Squeaky, and kept her attention throughout. The fact that she was fast asleep in the back seat of the car within 5 minutes of leaving was even better for me. Ever since, she's been asking to see the "singing lion show" again - so I take it that it's a hit with her too!
Corina Pavlova and the Lion's Roar is showing at Sherman Cymru from 9 December to 4 January, with showings in English and Welsh. Tickets are £7.00 and available direct from the theatre. A very fair priced alternative to the traditional pantomime, and much more suited to a young family.
Disclosure: I was provided with two tickets to the show free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not told what to write and all opinions are my own. Links are provided for convenience, I am not a member of any affiliate scheme and will not receive payment for their use.