“Tiddler? Tiddler? TIDDLER’S LATE!”
Tiddler by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler (them of The Gruffalo fame) is my absolute favourite book to read to the girls at the moment. Seren loves it as there is a mermaid in it. Imogen loves that my narrative becomes quite animated. I fist bump Tiddler over his tardiness.
Seren and I went to see Tiddler And Other Terrific Tales performed on stage a couple of weeks ago at the Leicester Square Theatre in London. As well as Tiddler, the performance included other Donaldson / Scheffler favourites, Monkey Puzzle, A Squash and A Squeeze and The Smartest Giant In Town. The show was put on by the Scamp Theatre group.
Monkey Puzzle is separated into three parts, with the other tales being told in totality in between. The performance is fast paced and engaging. I was impressed by how the actors moved the stage furniture around to suit each story and by their creative use of props and puppets. For example, the frog in Monkey Puzzle was really a green clutch bag with a pink lining. But we all recoiled in disgust as the ‘frog’ licked one of the actors nonetheless!
I would say that the performance was 90% true to the wordings of the books (I know some people are particular about this!) with extra narrative from the actors in between. My favourite tale was Tiddler, followed by A Squash and a Squeeze (told in a wild western prairie style!). I though maybe Monkey Puzzle lost something by being broken into parts but it was still fun to watch the ‘animals’ come alive. I enjoyed The Smartest Giant too but it’s my least favourite story of the four.
I did wonder how well Seren would sit throw the show, with the changing between stories, and she did start to get twitchy for the last 10 minutes of the hour long show. Not unusual in itself. The show was my favourite out of the three we’ve seen over the last month (the others being The Gruffalo and the Three Little Pigs).
I also loved the set up of the theatre, there was a bar area by the side of the seats selling reasonably priced tea, coffee and pots of popcorn (and other things!). One of the theatre staff helped parents up and down the stairs with buggies which was a nice touch. After the show we had a picnic in Leicester Square (for ease and convenience, not ambience!) then wandered down to Covent Garden to catch the street performers, which Seren was enthralled by.
Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales is on at the Leicester Square Theatre in London until the 31st August 2015, see the theatre’s website for ticket info.
Scamp Theatre have some other exciting productions on at the moment including Gruffalos, Ladybirds, and Other Beasts – with Julia Donaldson in Edinburgh until the end of August and The Scarecrows’ Wedding showing nationwide until the end of November. Stick Man is then showing in London and Edinburgh over Christmas 2015.
PS – The Gruffalo + the Three Little Pigs