The Tiger Who Came to Tea at the theatre
I received an email about Kids’ Week – where kids go free with a paying adult to more than 30 of the top shows in London. That’s enough of a good excuse for me and I quickly booked some tickets to see The Tiger Who Came to Tea at Cadogan Hall. The book is a firm favourite in our house and given that the recommended age was 3+, it was bound to be a hit with Romilly and I figured that Jasper might enjoy it too.
We’d missed the train we’d planned to get from Blackheath and tensions were running high as we turned up at the entrance huffing and puffing from our jog from Sloane Square tube – although thankfully with a few other parents in similar boats ahead and behind us. When I’ve been to shows with the kids before, we haven’t had allocated seating and I had visions of us rocking up and having to hold the kids at the back of a dark theatre to give them any sort of a view. Happily that wasn’t an issue here – our allocated seating ended up placing us slap bang in the middle of the theatre with great views for all – result!
As I looked around the theatre – much smaller than its West End counterparts but with a cosy, intimate but still grand feel to it, I noted that there were no ‘bad’ seats as such.
The stage was set for the performance with no curtain. It looked like it had jumped straight out of the book. When the three actors (mum, dad and Sophie) appeared, they too were dressed identically. It was really quite magical. They opened with a song – the show was an adaptation so there was singing and dancing too – which set up the show beautifully. Both the kids were mesmerized from the word go. The clocked ticked, the doorbell rang. Unlike in the book and building anticipation beautifully, the milkman, the postman et al knocked on the door as the clocked ticked and the doorbell rang each time. Finally, it got to tea time with the sandwiches, buns, biscuits and cakes. The tiger appeared and the audience shrieked in delight, pointing frantically at the tiger to show mum and Sophie that it had arrived. I had minor concerns that the arrival of the tiger might be quite scary for my two and three year olds. My fears were immediately dispelled – the tiger arrived gradually and gently and when he had fully appeared, his face was kind, the fabulous costume was so fluffy I wanted to reach out and stroke it and the tiger’s bottom shaking and over the top theatrical dancing provided enough of a comfort blanket that this was a nice tiger to my kids as well as most of the other children in the audience.
I won’t spoil the show for anyone planning to go and see it but suffice to say that it was a perfect blend of singing, dancing, audience participation, large parts of the dialogue were taken verbatim from the book which resonated with the young audience and stretched the attention spans that bit longer. Our kids were totally entranced from beginning to end – quite a feat for a show that lasted 55 minutes without an interval. I loved it, I’m not surprised it’s been nominated for an Olivier Award, and I would highly recommend that if you have the chance to get some tickets then snap them up.