Review: Tom Gates at Preston Charter Theatre

I’ve not read the Tom Gates books, although  I’ve cleared them away often enough. And carrying from the floor to the bookshelf was enough time to see their attraction..

The Tom Gates cast
The Tom Gates cast

Both my children are fans of this popular series of animated children’s books about happy-go-lucky schoolboy Tom - and were looking forward to seeing to the live show at Preston Charter Theatre.

And none of us was disappointed as this was great entertainment.

I had been unsure how the stories, which rely so heavily on the stylish doodles, could be brought to the stage.

Tom's sister Delia lives life under a cloud...

But it all instantly came together with the magnificent animated high definition backdrop. This ingenious screen with its hidden doors, compartments and changing surface allowed for the colourful projections which brought the distinctive world of Tom Gates perfectly to life in high resolution.

The small cast is excellent, with some taking on a variety of roles. All of them should be praised for interacting with the screen but still keeping the crowded theatre enthralled and entertained.

The story is simple. Tom’s doing everything possible to stay out of trouble but somehow he’s got three sad faces on the school achievement chart! And getting another sad face means he can’t go on the school trip.

The show is filled with great sound effects and music - including a finale performance from Tom’s band the Dog Zombies. Their closing song, School Dinner Blues, was particularly catchy and was sung in the car on the way home.


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The car is just a projection

This show, which is definitely worth taking the kids to, is at the Charter Theatre until Sunday, April 14.

You can buy tickets online at