I must confess: when I was sent a You Tube clip of the Tiger who Came to Tea at Vaudeville Theatre as a teaser for the show, I was less than impressed. It looked clunky, corny and quite odd.
Still, it’s one of our family’s best-loved books (Judith Kerr’s classic has sold 4 million copies worldwide) and I was curious to see just how they’d managed to bring the story to life on stage.
I’m happy to report that the You Tube clip in no way does it justice.
The Tiger who Came to Tea is one of the most fun times I’ve had with my babes in the theatre since conception.
It kept my 2-year-old hooked from start to finish, got belly laughs out of my 5-year-old and at one point had us all up on our feet dancing. And when it was over, the girl sitting behind us burst into tears because she didn’t want it to end!
I’m assuming you already know all about Sophie and her mum who sat down for tea, only to have a Tiger turn up and gobble up all the food and water in the house, leaving no supper for Daddy.
Adapted by writer/director David Wood OBE, the 5 minute tale is stretched into a 50 minute performance (perfect timing for pre-schoolers), padded out with cute sub-plots, peppy songs and an exciting build-up – you’ll be counting ‘tick tock’ – for the truly fabulous Tiger.
When the big cat arrived, Jed leaped onto my lap.
But there’s nothing scary about this old charmer who, when he’s not guzzling every bit of food and drink (‘all the water in the tap’), likes nothing but to shake his tail to some funky tunes.
Alan Atkins, who plays 4 roles including Daddy, is an impressive Tiger and Jenanne Redman as Mummy and Abbey Norman as Sophie are also convincing in their roles. When Sophie and Tiger say goodbye, it’s a genuinely touching moment.
The Tiger who Came to Tea is a faithful production with elements of surprise and real magic.
Book now before all the seats vanish like Sophie’s tea and this Tiger bounces out of town.
On the Spot
Tamsin and Rafe, 21 months
‘I thought the show was great, very energetic, really inclusive and the audience participation bits worked well. Rafe loved it. It’s one of our favourite books, I’ve been reading it to him since he was 6 months old.’
The Tiger Who Came to Tea is at Vaudeville Theatre, 404 Strand, WC1 until Sep 4.
Book tickets via London Theatre Direct