Return to Aesop cover image

Return to Aesop

“One day, we'll all be a story someone tells.
So make sure you write it from the heart.”


After the death of his explorer father, Jack must grow up under his grieving mother’s watchful eye. He is prescribed a sheltered and strict upbringing, headed by a stern butler and sympathetic housemaid. Fearful that he will follow in his father’s adventurous footsteps, Jack’s mother controls his every move, leaving him longing for freedom. One morning, Jack notices a hare in a running bib shooting past his window. The doorbell rings and he discovers a book on the doorstep. It is blank, except for an inscription reading ‘Return to Aesop’.

Desperate to explore the world, Jack seizes the opportunity to flee and find the book’s owner. He encounters a tortoise, who tells Jack about his upcoming race with the hare Jack previously spotted. Tortoise teaches Jack to ‘Keep it Slow’ and encourages him to write down everything he’s learning in the book marked ‘Return to Aesop’.

During his search for the book’s owner, Jack meets a host of colourful characters and chronicles his adventures inside the book, finding fame and celebrity as a storyteller. Meanwhile, the butler and housemaid embark on their own missions to return Jack home.

The feud comes to a head at the finish line of the Hare and Tortoise race. Who will win the contest? Can Jack’s family be happily reunited, or will the doors of the house be shut forever?

This fun, family musical was workshopped and developed in London in spring 2014 before receiving its premiere production that August as the culmination of the 2014 Starling Arts Summer School.

Hear some songs from Return to Aesop below! To hear more songs by Garsin & Shields, visit our Soundcloud page.