REVIEW: The Tiger Who Came To Tea (Piccadilly Theatre) ★★★★

The Tiger Who Came To Tea is a classic tale, written in 1968, and remains one of the best selling children’s books of all time. The Tiger is often said to be representative if the Nazis in third reich Germany, coming to take from the people as a looming threat that may return – though the author Judith Kerr says it’s just a Tiger who is hungry. The theatrical production is showing at the Piccadilly Theatre at 10am (way before the sparkles of Strictly Ballroom kick in later in the day) and is a return for a special summer season, celebrating its 10th anniversary on stage and 50 years of Britain’s best-loved picture book. It is billed as a stunning stage adaptation of the classic tale of teatime mayhem…and we are told to expect to be surprised.

Mr von Dienstag and I took two small fans, my 5 year old stepdaughter and 7 year old friend. Both girls were very familiar with the book and were excited to see signs to ‘The Tiger’s Den’ (the gift shop which does a roaring trade in tigers on sticks, cuddles tigers and hard copies of the book, amongst other things) on the way in. They loved the kick off of the show, the three main (human) characters, little girl Sophie, Mummy and Daddy took to the stage singing before any lights can’t down and eased us in. The set was a simple kitchen, done with details that the girls spotted such as food already out on display and things on the shelves. Abbey Norman playing Sophie made the biggest impression, with her little girl charm (impressive since she’s been playing this role since the original production) and I said that she was the best one, after the Tiger! The Tiger himself was brilliantly done, part costume and part puppet (the tail seemed that way to us at least!) he pops up and steals the show, helped by some disappearing food props that made the hungry tigers antics feel real.

Overall both girls said they enjoyed it very much – their favourite bit was the Tiger eating the food (maybe an obvious choice but a popular one) and they also enjoyed the singalong for the audience at the end! At 55 minutes running time, it had no problems holding the attention of the two of them, and the younger children sitting around us also stayed engaged, which is a good review in itself! A lovely mornings outing for the family, a solid and entertaining telling of a classic story – 4 stars and one to catch with the kids.

Reviewed by Ana von Dienstag


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