All Creatures Great and Small King’s Theatre

It’s not often that you go and see a stage production of a well-known TV show from way back in the 80s that’s as good as this one. If you don’t know the story of this it’s quite simple: Boy (James Herriot) moves from Glasgow to the Yorkshire Dales to work for a vet, falls in love with this beautiful girl, gets married – and the rest is history.

The great thing about this story was it was a very gentle, nice and relaxing two and a quarter hour performance – there was no loud music, it was packed with great characters well played by an excellent ensemble cast, and sensibly involving no live animals, other than the dog who played Tricky Woo. Clever sound design played a big part in convincing us that the vets were dealing with a variety of farm animals throughout.

Set design, too, was first class, encompassing the Yorkshire dales as well as the interiors of farmhouses and the vets’ surgery. There’s not one bad performancehere, from leads Oliver Mellor, Clare Buckfield and scene-stealing Susan Penhaligon to the multi-part playing supporting cast, with skilful direction from Tim Welton.

A very easy story to follow with plenty of laughs along the way made this probably one of the plays I have most enjoyed going to see.

I was a little disappointed to not see a full house on opening night, but I’m sure that will change as the week progresses, this is a great and “must see” show.

Jamie Wells