Tom Fletcher & ‘There’s a Monster In Your Show’

16 October 2024 to 16 October 2025 Various Locations

The former McFly man's newest musical aims to engage crowds of kids with stellar music and performance.

“I’m hoping for absolute chaos!” It’s an unusual aspiration for the creative behind a brand-new musical to want from his audience reaction- especially when he adds that he wants the audience to be “shouting out and jumping up and down and singing along and clapping.”

A far cry from the usual hushed theatre experience - but Tom Fletcher, one of the UK’s bestselling authors and chart-topper with pop-rock band McFly, is not your usual writer. As his new play, There’s A Monster in Your Show leaps from page - in the beloved ‘Who’s in Your Book?' series - onto musical stage, he’s adamant he wants a high-energy, 50-minute play to cement a love of theatre in pre-school children’s hearts.

“I want kids to feel this is a show that they are a part of, not just coming to watch,” Fletcher says, just after meeting the cuddly Monster puppet with his own three children. “This isn’t going to be a ‘sit down and be quiet!’ kind of show. There’s a lot of mischief in the book, and the show is not to go according to plan either! Certain monsters will require the audience’s help getting the show back on track. This might be some children’s first trip to the theatre, and I want no other theatrical experience to ever live up to it!”

Photo of Tom Fletcher promoting his new play ‘There’s a Monster In Your Show’
Image via Everyman Playhouse

The musical play sees Little Monster joined by his friends Dragon, Alien and Unicorn, learning about the joy of books and friendship - and the power of a great story. The production comes from the makers of hits including Twirlywoos Live, Sarah & Duck and The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show - with many of the brilliantly catchy songs in the show composed by Fletcher too.

Tom first found fame with McFly’s hit 5 Colours in Her Hair in 2004; his bestselling books, meanwhile, have been translated into forty languages. So fans might be surprised to learn that There’s a Monster in Your Book, the inspiration for his new play, was actually the first book Fletcher ever wrote.

“I sketched out a version of it years ago, and then made it into an interactive book which I gave to my bandmates,” he remembers. “I wish I’d filmed their reaction, because as I watched them say, ‘ooh look there’s a monster!’ and then shake the book and turn it over to find him, they all cracked up laughing.

“I figured that my 20-something bandmates had the same sense of humour as three-year-olds, so it was probably going to work!”

The book idea sat on Fletcher’s shelf for a while - and now he’s thrilled to see his words come to life again in theatres. “I still remember going to see Sooty and Button Moon when I was little and often went to my local community theatres. Then I went to see Jason Donovan in Joseph [and the Technicolour Dreamcoat] when I was a bit older, and it changed my life. I decided then and there that I was going to be on stage doing what the children in Joseph were doing - and within a few years I was playing Oliver! on that stage in the Palladium. Theatre trips definitely set me off on the course of my life.”

Directing the action in There’s a Monster in Your Show is Miranda Larson. Writer of TV hits including Fireman Sam, Bob the Builder, and Thomas the Tank Engine, she has also adapted Fireman Sam and the YouTube phenomena Little Baby Bum for stage, as well as Fletcher’s previous book-turned-play hit, The Christmasaurus. “The Who’s in Your Book series is so mischievous and cheeky, with a huge sense of humour, and we’ve brought that to the stage,” she explains. “There’s a fun chaos to it all, slapstick humour, and the puppets have such a wow factor.”

Parents who struggle to keep their children sitting down for a single meal might worry how a pre-schooler will stay captivated for a play lasting almost an hour - but Larson, like Fletcher, is very relaxed: “the show is so engaging, with lots of interactive moments, songs to lift everyone up - plus the monster story just brings out giggles - the children will be laughing in the aisles.”

The theatre, both Larson and Fletcher believe, has never been more important for young children, with creativity being squeezed out of curricula. “There seems to be way more pressure on children these days, even really young kids are so much more aware of stresses than when I was a child,” Larson adds. “The great thing about theatre is they just get lost in this magical moment, the stage is a bubble where the audience of every age can escape their worries and have fun and smile.”

Fletcher reveals that his packed schedule saw him record demos of some of There’s a Monster in Your Show’s songs in the back of a car during a six-hour drive from Leeds to Margate during McFly’s UK tour. He’s famously a hands-on dad to his three kids with wife Giovanna Fletcher, as well as having achieved 10 UK number-one singles with McFly, written scores of books and he often pops up on TV - how does he do it all?

“It’s full on,” he grins. “Today the kids came to work with me to do a workshop on There’s a Monster in Your Show, as they’re on school holidays. The second they are in bed I’ll be in my studio writing until I fall asleep at my keyboard. But I feel so lucky to be able to do it all - if that means I sacrifice sleep and have bad blood pressure and feel slightly stressed then I’ll just eat lots of broccoli and hope for the best! Monster is going to be an amazing show, I just can’t wait for everyone to see it.”

There’s A Monster in Your Show premieres at the Watford Palace Theatre on 12 October, and then goes on a major UK tour of more than 40 venues across the UK with more still to be announced!