This review is of the summer 2011 run of 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'. The show returns for Christmas 2015.
Those of a certain generation will remember having 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea' read to them as a child, and the warm, familiar and comforting charm of the illustrations that accompanied it.
David Wood's stage adaptation of the book beloved by children for 40 years is a delight from start to finish, imaginatively weaving songs, humour and audience participation together to give a loyal account of the tale: the set and costumes are wonderfully low-tech and faithful (down to the checks on Sophie's tights), the actors charming and inviting, the storytelling clever and suspenseful.
Mr Tiger's entrance generated squeals of excitement thanks to a great costume and some 'killer' moves and the production's deviations from its source feel inventive and organic. It offers lively engagement for an audience of under-fives, with regular bouts of 'Behind you!' and 'All together now!', simple, catchy songs ('Yummy, yummy sausages, / Scrummy, scrummy chips!') and captivating props.
Sometimes, the days of my youth – when it was okay to eat crisps, sausages, chips, ice cream and cakes, all washed down with bright orange squash – can seem a long time ago. Being able to enjoy them all over again, with a new generation, is really something special.
By Rachel Halliburton