Friday, 2 January 2015

The Tiger Who Came To Tea, Jan 2, 2015 ****1/2

Book, Music & Lyrics by David Wood; adapted from Judith Kerr's book
Produced by KW &NB Ltd Company 
Arts Centre Melbourne, Jan 2 to 18, 2015
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Review also in Herald Sun online on Jan 5 then later in print. Sorry for delay in uploading here. I've been on hols at the beach! KH

What would you do if a gigantic Tiger appeared at your front door demanding tea?

If you’re a 4 or 5 year old, evidently you’d squeal excitedly, point, shout, sing, invite him in and then feed the hungry Tiger all of your yummy afternoon tea.

That menu includes bikkies, buns, sandwiches, an enormous cake and everything drinkable in the house, including Daddy’s beer.

The Tiger Who Came To Tea is an adorably cute musical play for children that is written and directed by David Wood and adapted from Judith Kerr's popular,  children’s picture book that was published in 1968.

This is a joyously playful show that tickles the funny bone of its target audience (3 years +), a group that has a sense of humour that is notoriously difficult to predict.

The children sing along with Sophie (Abby Norman), her Mummy (Jenanne Redman) and Daddy (Matthew Dudley), count the hours as time ticks by on the kitchen clock and scream, “He’s behind you!” when Tiger arrives at the door.

They shout,  “He’s hungry!” or “He’s thirsty!” acting as interpreters of Tiger’s sign language when Mummy and Sophie don’t understand his needs.

They learn the lyrics of Tiger’s song and act out the actions: swing your tail, shake your paws, stretch your claws and roar your roar.

The three versatile performers know exactly how to engage this very young audience with participation, comic mime, broad characters and goofy slapstick that includes Daddy wrangling his jacket then shoving his shoes into the toaster.

Suzie Caulcutt’s set is a cheerfully pastel, cartoon kitchen and the props seem to be miraculous because cakes and milkshakes magically disappear from sight when Tiger swallows them.

But it is the fluffy, lovable and very polite Tiger that steals the children’s hearts as he sashays around, waggling his bottom or performing a deep, Elizabethan bow to his hosts while he scoffs their food, leaving them with empty cupboards and no dinner.

The Tiger Who Came To Tea is an old-fashioned kids’ play that will delight families and keep everyone out of the heat – unless you’re the actor wearing the Tiger suit.

By Kate Herbert

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