CHILDREN are the most honest of reviewers, and it's safe to say ours were spellbound by Room on the Broom.

The national tour of the much-loved Julia Donaldson picture book adaptation stopped off at The Forum in Barrow, with performances on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tall Stories theatre company previously visited Barrow with Donaldson's most famous creations, The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child, so expectations were high.

Within seconds of the actors appearing on stage, playing inept campers who had left their tent behind, belly laughs broke out among the audience.

I imagined the campers would be going on to introduce the narrative as part of a campfire story, but rather cleverly they spotted 'the witch' flying off stage to introduce her to the young audience.

The actors transformed before our eyes into the witch and her faithful cat, off on a mission to confront a witch-munching dragon.

The ensemble cast of four deftly juggled all the characters and puppetry, as we met the dog, the bird, the frog, and the much-feared dragon.

The dog was delightfully daft, all wagging tail and puppy dog eyes. The bird's music hall performance was comedy gold, and the frog, on the run from a princess, was all country and western swagger with a hillbilly soundtrack to match.

Our four-year-old was a literally on the edge of her seat when, off stage, the dragon was heard to approach.

But the company played it just right, as he ambled on stage, quite clearly a man in a dragon suit, with a cheeky Welsh accent rendering him loveable rather than ferocious.

Each scene was perfectly executed, until the moment when the actor controlling the dog and frog puppets mixed up their accents. But rather than hope no one noticed, he gamely flagged it up and even got a punchline out of it.

There was a brief moment of mayhem as the witch corpsed, but this just added to the experience of a live theatre performance.

Tall Stories is renowned for the quality of its work, and rightly so.

Rather than patronising children with saccharine adaptations, the company's blend of slapstick humour, original songs and rapid fire dialogue ensure this truly is a show for the whole family.