Blu & The Magic Web

If you’re looking for magical theatre this Christmas, but aren’t keen on booking a pantomime, then Blu & The Magic Web is a musical adventure that is sure to please the whole family.

a must-see for families this Christmas

Blasting back onto the Brighton scene this Christmas, Truestory Theatre is back in a new venue, ready to delight audiences once again. Although they first caught our attention with adaptations of two of the most enduring horror stories – Dracula and Frankenstein – clearly last year’s A Christmas Carol has given them a taste for more family friendly fare.

After we meet the only child left in the village - non-binary protagonist Blu (played by Lily McGibbon in their professional debut) - and their adopted Granny (Gina Cameron), we soon discover that all the other children have been taken by a mysterious evil force in the forest.

Blu sets out on a quest to save them, looking like a cross between a Pokémon trainer and Link from The Legend of Zelda with cropped bright blue hair, endless enthusiasm, and a fully stocked backpack (toy lightsaber included, of course).

Before long we join a familiar cast of characters plucked from popular fairytales. As is the fashion, these are modern interpretations: Hansel and Gretel are warring siblings; Red Riding Hood needs spectacles; Sleeping Beauty (or in this case, Rose) is a selfie-obsessed influencer, enchanted by her own image; and (Ra)Punzel is a hardcore gamer.

There isn’t a weak link in the cast. Everyone from Ben Jones’ humorous servile Welsh wolf, to Chanel McKenzie’s forensically minded Gretel, and Gina Cameron’s northern Granny, play their part with aplomb. Lily McGibbon is excellent as Blu – you quickly accept that they are playing a young child, as they fully embody the necessary youthful wide eyed optimism. They also have a superb singing voice, which is clear and strong enough to take the lead in a couple of the musical numbers.

Although the heroes in stories tend to hog the spotlight, it’s the villains who get all the best lines, and Blu & The Magic Web’s nefarious spider Spindra is certainly the star. Writer and director Gary Sefton taps into his endless acting ability to play Spindra with huge amounts of energy and levity, challenging The Lord of the Rings’ Shelob for biggest, scariest spider. Combined with clever projection designs (by Thomas Buckley), Spindra is delightfully frightening, as he towers over the cast on stilts, and snarls across the stage. It’s hard to explain how impressive his athleticism is to watch as he bounds around. Younger children may experience a few shudders as he emerges into view, but no doubt they’ll leave completely captivated.

Although this an original production, the story isn’t particularly innovative; drawing on fairytale tropes for inspiration means there won’t be any prizes for guessing the plot. However, Christmas is a time for tradition and repetition, and the simple narrative makes it easy for even the youngest children to follow.

In fact, once Blu leaves the village, the story has a Wizard of Oz style transformation as we leave the slightly humdrum village behind in favour of the much more magical forest. This is where the action really starts to kick in and the musical starts to hit its stride.

The songs by composer and musical director Harrison White are pop hits, reminiscent of Six, with snappy lyrics and catchy choruses. They might not be quite as unforgettable as those in a West End smash-hit sensation, but it’s easy to imagine that the songs would get a fair few repeat plays post-show if they were uploaded to Spotify. Notable numbers were Spindra’s diatribe against children, and Rose’s Nicki Minaj-esque ode to narcissism.

Truestory Theatre’s previous home at The Spire had natural atmosphere, and at first some of that innate immersion is lost in the more traditional proscenium stage of the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts. However, the hardworking set design by Ryan Dawson Laight seems to grow with the show as we travel through the forest, and it isn’t long before you’re swept up in the story. In an ideal world, perhaps it would have been nice to see the cast spill out into the audience, but in these Covid-sensitive times, it is right that distance is required.

What more could you ask for? A truly talented cast, complete with a villain who will amaze and astonish, incredible effects, and a wholesome message focusing on belonging makes this the complete package. Simply put, Blu & The Magic Web is a must-see for families this Christmas and set to delight audiences of all ages.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Elanor Parker

Komedia - Brighton

Solve-Along-A-Murder-She-Wrote

★★★★
ONCA Barge / Waterhall Rewilding Site

Rewilding Cinderella

★★★★
Wagner Hall & Fig Tree Garden

Clean at 17

★★★★
Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts

Showwomen

★★★★★
One Church Brighton

Small Acts: Future Pub

★★★
The Rotunda Theatre: Squeak

The Unforgettable Anna May Wong

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Join Blu, as together we adventure through the tangled woods for a new spin on old tales. Along the way, you will bump into characters from some of the world’s best loved stories reimagined for the next generation.

Blu & the Magic Web is a fairytale mash-up featuring Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel & Gretel, Rapunzel and some brand new characters to add to your storybooks.

Most Popular See More

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets