The fact that The Tiger Who Came To Tea is one of the best-loved picture books of all time must stand this theatrical production in good stead to be a roaring success.
The fact that multi-award winning David Woods OBE, noted by The Times as “undisputedly the leading writer and director of plays and musicals for children”, was at the helm of its adaptation further improves its chances – and the truth is, it doesn’t disappoint.
Perfectly pitched for its preschool-plus audience, The Tiger Who Came To Tea also scores highly in nostalgic charm for parents who remember the classic tale from their own childhood (first published in 1968, the book has sold over a million copies).
This delightful production (an Olivier Award nominee in 2012) eloquently captures the gentle charms of Judith Kerr’s book, conjuring up a bygone era when most mummies were happy homemakers and daddies went off to work in a smart hat and overcoat
Using a clever device of a sing-song “Tick tock, tick tock”, Sophie and her mother are spending an idle day at home, when the most unexpected of guests turns up: a furry, stripey tiger. And he’s very hungry.
Sophie and her mother take these most unusual goings-on in the calmest of manners, inviting the tiger to join them for tea. And, with some clever use of props, the audience watches him eat them out of house and home, devouring plates of sandwiches and buns, emptying the cupboards and fridge of their contents, downing Daddy’s beer and drinking all the water in the taps!
The juxtaposition of cosy family domesticity in the company of a ravenous ‘real-life’ tiger gives a fantastical and surreal feel that definitely tickles a young audience, who are invited to interact and offer their opinions on proceedings. It also helps that the tiger doesn’t offer any menace: his only crime is that he is rather hungry, but this is offset by his impeccable manners as he bows and thanks Sophie and her mother for his feast of food.
Why go To savour a timeless children’s story that has been much loved for nearly half a century and brought to life with affection.
Who is it best for Children from three years, especially those who are familiar with the book, and love the thought of dining with a tiger.
Top Tip Read Judith Kerr’s brilliant book before you go so your child knows what to expect, and to ensure the entrance of the tiger is not too intimidating.
Our favourite bit One of the delights of the original book is the kitsch 60s fashion. Sophie’s costume is an exact reproduction right down to her cheekily short A-line pinafore, her chequerboard tights and cute T-bar shoes. Well done to the wardrobe mistress!
Don’t go If you don’t like stripes.
While You’re There Take time for coffee and cake at the Arts Depot café, which has a soft play area for children. The Arts Depot also hosts visual arts events and there are plenty of artworks on the walls to admire…