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Winnie The Pooh - UK Tour Review

Writer: Mark Johnson
Ad: Tickets were gifted

Before I start this review I would like to dedicate this to my friend Laura who sadly passed away at the start of June 2023. Laura was a bright infectious character, always bouncing and fitted the nickname Tigger perfectly. She would have loved this show and in one of our last chats together we discussed Winnie The Pooh and hopes to visit Ashdown Forest together. Alas that journey I’ll have to do without her by myside, but as Pooh says “if there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay forever.”

The beloved characters, some wonderful puppetry and a wholesome dose of warmth. Winnie The Pooh arrives on stage in a new musical adaption that tours the UK and Ireland after playing an off-Broadway run and in London at the Riverside Studios. The show currently plays in Nottingham at the Theatre Royal.

Photo by Pamela Raith

As you enter into the auditorium you enter the colourful world of the Hundred Acre Wood. You are instantly struck by the colour palette and the recognisable world created by AA Milne. On the stage there's Pooh Sticks Bridge, Eeyore's stick house and Rabbit's vegetable patch. It really does feel like you are stepping into the world of Disney's cartoons.

With the show aimed at the younger ones it's not the most complex of plots, nor does it need to be, the premise is that Pooh is alone for the day as Christopher Robin has gone to school and he begins a quest for some of his beloved honey. Along the way of the search, Pooh encounters all his friends and all the seasons of weather and a series of mishaps.

The story is embossed with songs by the Sherman Brothers which are bright and cheerful and showcase the characters in a great way. These aren’t big razzle-dazzle songs these are cleverly weaved character-driven numbers. The stand-out song coming from Tigger's 'The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers' that anyone familiar with the Disney cartoon will know that "he's the only one".

The characters are brought to life through puppets which are attached to the performers. It's a wholesome way to stage the show because it's a joy to watch both puppet and puppeteer as they interact together and with their fellow company members.

It's no mean feat to manage to convey these characters both through the puppets and through voice work. Central to that is Benjamin Durham’s Pooh. Durham’s performance is superb and he nails every beat of the characters physicality and vocally he pitches the voice just right.

Benjamin Durham as Winnie The Pooh. Photo by Pamela Raith.

The company are all supreme puppeteers and performers who rotate their roles at different performances. At the performance I attended in Nottingham the bouncy infectious energy of Tigger was captured tremendously by Alex Cardall, Harry Boyd switches seamlessly between Rabbit, Owl and as melancholic Eeyore, Laura Bacon plays Piglet with the right air of anxiety whilst managing to be super sweet. Bacon also playfully characterises Roo with Chloe Gentles playing Kanga.

The slight disappointment in the performance was the sound, the lack of volume made it difficult to hear lines being said often meaning things were a little lost. Undoubtedly there’s a fair bit of noise from a young audience but a little more volume from the stage would have amplified the show better.

The show runs for an hour and some scenes do slightly linger on a little longer than necessary but there’s a lot of engagement, particularly as characters first enter which is really warming to be surrounded by as you hear the audible gasps from children (and possibly some adults!).

There is plenty for all ages to enjoy from the show, and it would be a great gateway into attending the theatre for younger ones. There’s a lot of nostalgia for the older ones with a great mixed age audience in attendance. 

You can’t help but enjoy a visit to the Hundred Acre Woods and seeing these classic characters brought to life. It will make you long for your childhood and see joy in the youngsters. You leave the theatre feeling all warm inside.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Winnie the Pooh plays at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal until Saturday 1st July. Tickets are available from The show tours the UK and Ireland with dates currently booking until early September. For dates and tickets visit

Photo by Pamela Raith

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