Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are favourites in our house so when we saw Room on the Broom was coming to the Illawarra Entertainment Centre in Wollongong I knew we had to go.
The CDP Kids show is only here for two days but there are still tickets for Saturday’s performance. So whether you need persuading to attend, have been already or are going tomorrow, we thought this guide might come in handy.
What is Room on the Broom?
If you already know what it is then skip below. For those who have managed to get through three years of parenthood without reading thousands of hours worth of Julia Donaldson’s books here is the low down (also can you please tell us how you achieved that?).
Essentially it’s a rhyming book about a witch who ends up collecting lots of animals that ride with her on her broom to fight a dragon but the broomstick isn’t meant for five and it snaps in two.
How much does it cost – and are there any seats left?
It’s not cheap. All tickets are between $26 and $29. There are a handful of seats left for Saturday’s performance at 10am and noon.
Children over 12 months must have a paid seat. It quickly adds up for a family of four and you’ll end up forking out $116 plus extras.
Are they going to be wriggly bums?
I brought my four-year-old Archie and his friends Heidi and Eddie, also four. This was Archie’s third trip to the theater so I was fairly confident he could cope with the 55 minute show. I had no idea what his friends would be like though and considering I was one adult in charge of three cheeky monkeys I was worried (very worried).
They were mesmerized the entire way through and were so quiet I actually thought they were going to fall asleep. The show was probably the perfect length, but another ten minutes and we might have had problems.
Will I have to sell my soul to pay for the merchandise?
The simple answer is yes.
We arrived literally just before the first call and they were so excited they didn’t notice the stall full of cute cuddly toys, cd’s, books, drawing packs etc. One family had stopped to buy three activity packs and a few other things I overheard them being asked for $100(!).
The cheapest item to buy are the activity books for $10 but you could end up being set back $50 for a large plush dragon.
Can I take my own food and drink?
With three little ones I knew in advance that snacks were the only answer to us all making it through to the end.
You’re not allowed to bring your own refreshments to the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre in Wollongong and I know from experience that the crisps at the canteen are VERY expensive at $3 each but the $12 spend (yes, I needed some to keep me sane) is inevitable I’ve come to realise, so add that to your $116 for tickets.
Is it scary?
I’d told Archie well advance we’d be going to Room on a Broom. I was worried he’d be a bit scared of the witch, but the night before he told me he it was the dragon he was terrified of seeing. I was hoping that I wouldn’t end up with three four-year-olds sat on my knee.
Heidi and Eddie were very brave but as soon as Archie saw the dragon he hopped off his chair and onto mine. It wouldn’t say it is scary. In fact the dragon was Heidi’s favourite part and thanks to his fantastic dancing I think it was the part most of the mums enjoyed too.
Is it suitable for preschoolers?
Totally. This show is all about the little ‘uns. If they like Julia Donaldson’s fantastic books like The Gruffalo, Zog, Stickman, Superworm or The Highway Rat then Room on a Broom will be perfect.
However it will depend on individual attention span for those under four. There were a lot of little ones finding it difficult after the first 30 minutes.The plot does drag out a little before they get to the dragon scene when the excitement picks up again.
But what about my other children?
My seven-year-old didn’t want to attend so I left him at home (with a responsible adult). It was the correct decision. The show is adorable but six year-old upwards is probably the limit, in my opinion. There were older children there who appeared to be having a nice time.
And while the show was for over 3’s there were plenty of younger ones and certainly there is nothing in the performance that is unsuitable for that age group.
My kids will love it, but will I?
I’ve taken our boys to a number of children’s shows and usually I have as much fun as them. This time, however, there were very few laughs for the mums and dads. Maybe I’m growing out of the genre? In any case the kids loved it and that’s all that matters.
What will phrases will they be saying all weekend?
I got through 45 minutes of the show thinking ‘great, there is nothing here they will be repeating all week’ UNTIL they sang a song at the end and asked for audience participation. By the time we left the building the entire audience was singing ‘Ziggerty, zaggerty zoom, we’ve got a truly magnificent broom’. To be fair it could be worse.
I’d give it a three out of five but my vote doesn’t count. Heidi and Eddie both gave it a five out of five. Archie was thoroughly impressed and gave it one hundred, infinity, one thousand out of five. I think that means it’s a winner.
Room on the Broom is on at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre in Wollongong on Saturday, September 30 at 10am and noon. Tickets are between $26 and $29 each and can be booked online.
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