The Tiger Who Came To Tea, Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, UK.Wilma and I joined a veritable throng of yummy mummies and their little darlings at the Lyric theatre to watch this musical play by David Wood based on the much loved 1968, Judith Kerr book of the same title.

The Olivier nominated play features three performers who tell the story of Sophie and her family on a day when someone very special comes for tea.

Abbey Norman perfectly personifies Sophie, the little girl who along with her mummy has afternoon tea interrupted by the exciting and unexpected visitor. The gloriously greedy tiger, played by Benjamin Wells is magnificent and the show really begins when he takes to the stage. I was a little sad, however that we didn’t hear, as I imagined we would, his booming voice like in the book but instead the animal was mute and performed all of his hungry and thirsty actions using mime and dance. Wells also charmed in his other roles as both the hapless Dad, the cheeky milkman and the silly postman, but the tiger is the real star and when not on stage the performance lacked a little excitement.

Stephanie Summers as Mummy was very engaging and in the style of a nursery teacher, facilitated the narration with big movements, songs and plenty of audience involvement which enlightened and enthralled the gathered families.

I did feel at 55 minutes with no interval, both the young audience and I started to lose our way as the show neared the end, particularly after the tiger had left. I would have happily done without the last couple of songs, and feel a shorter and cheaper show would be much more attractive to those with preschool children.

Reviewed by Nicky Sweetland
Photo: Jane Hobson

The Tiger Who Came To Tea is playing at the Lyric Theatre until 10 January 2016. Click here for tickets