Review of The Tiger Who Came To Tea Live at Cadogan Hall, August 2016.
Confession time. I’ve never liked this book I find the plot rather odd. I mean, why would they just let the tiger eat all their food and drink? Why be so submissive? Isn’t it too scary? Will be children lie awake at night thinking that a tiger might knock on the door and eat all their biscuits? There is a theory that the story is based on the author Judith Kerr’s experience of living in Nazi Germany in the the 1930s but she has said this isn’t true and the story came about after a visit to the zoo with her daughter. It’s one of the few modern children’s classics that we don’t have at home. But, Seren heard the book at nursery last year and has fallen in love with it – it’s been her favourite book for quite some time now. I guess 4 year olds see stories in different ways to grown ups.
So when the Kids Week theatre tickets came out at the beginning of the summer and two options for under 5’s were The Gruffalo Live and The Tiger Who Came To Tea Live, it had to be the latter for us (we’ve seen The Gruffalo anyway).
The play ran in London during August at Cadogan Hall just off of Sloane Square in Chelsea. It’s a lovely venue, fairly modern and quite intimate, perfect for family visits.
The play takes on much the same story, costumes and scenery as the book though – at 55 minutes – pads out the story, as you would expect. Whilst in the book you hear about the milkman having been, the postman having been, father having taken his keys, in the play these bits are played out in comic style.
When you finally get to the tiger’s arrival, after a while of build up, it is to the excited delight of the children in the audience!
There is an interactive element too, a song about the sausage, chips and ice-cream tea that the family have in the cafe where the audience is split into 3 and take turns. There is a lot of educational clock counting, “It’s 4 o’clock, 1-2-3-4” and a little song about the tiger’s that is repeated a couple of times and stuck in her heads for the rest of the day.
I now have to sing the song when we read the book and S can’t wait to sing it to her teachers when she goes back to school.
OK, The Tiger Who Came To Tea, maybe you aren’t such a strange one after all.
The Tiger Who Came To Tea Live has finished it’s run at Cadogan Hall but is on at the Arts Theatre in Cambridge from the 20th – 25th September 2016. It has run in London during August for the past couple of years so hopefully it will be back next summer!