Days Out, Reviews
Comments 7

The Way Back Home with The Belfast Children’s Festival

If you remember, back in February the lovely people at Young at Art invited me to the launch of their 18th annual Belfast Children’s Festival. I found out loads about what was planned for the festival this year and we were also invited to attend and review one of the shows in March.

Time flew by fast and last Friday, on a gorgeous spring day, Emma and I took the train into Belfast and went to see the adaptation of The Way Back Home, by Oliver Jeffers at The Lyric Theatre.

Gorgeous day

A photo posted by Mama's Haven (@mamashaven) on

In all honesty, I should have been better prepared. I should have bought and read the book with Emma before we went to see the show but it had been a busy week for this mummy and it just didn’t cross my mind. We love Oliver Jeffers, we have several of his books already and like his work and original illistrations. The Way Back Home is beautifully illustrated as well and has so many subtle messages for the young reader, about friendship and camaraderie in front of adversity.

Here is the initial story read on the CBeebies Story Hour:

The show, put together by Branar/Teater Refleksion was an absolute delight in itself. The puppets looked amazingly true to story, so to say, and were the very embodiment of Oliver Jeffers’ rich imagination. The bits the two artists had added, as their own interpretation of the story, complemented and never clashed with the original version. The magic bed scene was adorable and had the children in giggles of laughter.

If there is one thing that maybe could have been adjusted was the admission age. The show had to be played in absolute darkness, so the special effects can be fully visible and some of the younger audience found that spooky. The show captured the imagination of older children while the young ones found it hard to keep quiet and still, as we had all been required at the start.

Emma struggled with the additional noise and got distracted several times. She was also unsure of the dark but afterwards, on our own way back home, she kept mentioning “favourite bits” from the show, a sign that it had all been internalised and most importantly, enjoyed.

Thank you, Young at Art, for having us over and for such an imaginative and beautiful show!

Disclosure: we have been given two tickets to the show for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely our own.


  1. It looks like a magical show and it’s such a lovely story. I don’t think my children would cope with being in the darkness, I have two that are awkward in unfamiliar places, I’m sure the darkness would exacerbate that. I wouldn’t mind seeing it myself though🙂

  2. Cass@FrugalFamily says

    This sounds brilliant although I know my son would have struggled in the darkness when he was a bit younger x

  3. I love taking mine to the theatre, they seem to be magically swept up in the stories. I love this book too

  4. Erica Price says

    We love Oliver Jeffers’ books too. Sounds like the performance was magical. A lovely day out.

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