BRINGING a book to life on stage is tricky enough as it is, but when a key part of said book is the illustration it adds an extra layer of complexity.

It is something the team behind the latest Tom Gates show pull off perfectly, using giant screen behind the cast to place the characters in a cartoon world.

It makes scene changes a piece of cake and gives great scope for emphasising the internal emotions of the protagonist, a well-meaning but accident-prone boy in year five.

Tom, who tells the story in the first person, is like a modern day Adrian Mole, with a love of doodling, hence the live animation, which often gets him in trouble.

The books, written by Liz Pichon, have become a publishing phenomenon, and are sold around the world.

This show was a brand new story with Tom almost missing out on a school trip to a biscuit factory because he has too many ‘sad faces’ on his school achievement chart.

Snakey classmate Marcus Meldrew makes matters worse and his moody teenage sister Delia is annoyed with him.

He and his friends are in trouble because they have doodled on the wrong council graffiti wall and Tom has sat on his grandfather’s top hat, which he needs when he renews his wedding vows to granny.

Oh crikey. What’s a boy to do?

Matthew Chase is great as Tom, ably supported by a cracking cast of young actors currently on tour with this fun show.

The matinee show was packed with a predominantly pre-teen audience and their parents who dutifully clapped along with the catchy songs from Tom’s band, the Dog Zombies.

With some memorable characters and great lines, the clever effects from the backdrop form a fun show sure to keep little ones entertained throughout, ensuring fidgety little wrigglers are not bored by having to sit still for more than an hour.

Young or old, you do not need to have the read the books to get the gist and with plenty of laughs, the script zips along making for an enjoyable afternoon or evening out for all of the family.

Tom Gates is touring various venues around the country until December 7. To find out more visit: