If you do one thing with the little rascals this summer, take them to see a kids’ show that’s fun for you too. With the annual Kids Week offer (1 free child ticket to a West End show for every paying adult) extended for a whole month thanks to the Cultural Olympiad, there’s no excuse to miss out on a live theatre experience over summer 2012.
We were lucky enough to be invited again to see The Tiger who Came to Tea, back at the Lyric Theatre through September. This was one of our favourite shows last year and we were pleased to find the same actors performing the roles of Sophie, Mum, Dad and the very cuddly Tiger. The babes got an extra kick out of sitting in the box and slapping paws with the Tiger in a backstage tea party.
The Tiger who Came to Tea is our number 1 pick in this list of Top 10 Theatre for Kids in Summer 2012. Encore!
1. The Tiger who Came to Tea at Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2 (Piccadilly Circus tube)
Based on the best-loved children’s book by Judith Kerr, this charming musical adaptation will win the hearts, minds and giggles of little ones ages 3+ and tickle their mamas and papas too. Read our Tiger who Came to Tea review. 10am, 11am, 11.30am, 12pm & 2.30pm (varying dates); £9.80-£17.40 (Jul 2-Sep 2)
2. Matilda the Musical at Cambridge Theatre, 7 Dials, Earlham St, WC2 (Covent Garden)
Tim Minchin’s loopy lyrical genius shines in this multiple award-winning twist on Roald Dahl’s tale of feisty, bookish heroine Matilda. For ages 5+. Read our Matilda the Musical review. 2.30pm & 7.30pm; £25-£65.50 (ongoing)
3. Shrek the Musical at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Catherine St, WC2 (Covent Garden tube)
He’s big, he’s green and he farts a lot but that won’t stop you falling head ogre heels for Shrek and this laugh-out-loud musical, adapted from the big screen comedy. For ages 4+. Read our Shrek the Musical review. 7.30pm (Mon, Thu, Fri, Sat), 7pm (Wed), 3pm (Sat & Sun); £20-£65 (ongoing)
4. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at threesixty Theatre, Kensington Gardens, Dial Walk, W8 (High Street Kensington tube)
Hot on the heels of last year’s hit Peter Pan, comes this spectacular production based on CS Lewis’ classic story. Journey into Narnia from the heart of London, with live theatre, 360 surround video and puppetry. Best for ages 5+. 1.30pm (Jul 12 & 19); Mon, Thu-Sat 7.30pm, Wed & Thu 2.30pm, Sat 3pm, Sun 12pm and 3.30pm (Jul 23-Sep 9); 2pm only (Fri July 27); £25-£65 (show run until Sep 9)
5. Dora the Explorer Live at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2 (Covent Garden tube)
The popular Nickelodeon character makes her first live outing in the Search for the Island of Lost Toys, a rollicking production filled with song and dance. For ages 2+ 10.30am, 1.30pm & 3pm (varying dates), £13-£25 (Aug 28-Sep 16)
6. Charlie & Lola’s Best Bestest Play at Polka Theatre, 240 the Broadway, SW19 (Wimbledon tube)
Lauren Child’s funny brother and sister act take the stage in a magical mix of 2D & 3D puppets and music. For ages 3+ with special Watch with Baby shows throughout the run. 10.30am, 11am & 2.30pm (varying dates); £10-£16 (Jul 18-Aug 14)
7. The Trojan Horse at the Scoop at More London Riverside, off Tooley St, SE1 (London Bridge tube)
There’s a triple bill of free outdoor theatre at the Scoop but only the first part’s suitable for young ‘uns. The Trojan Horse is a toe-tapping blend of adventure, romance, comedy and puppetry from Steam Industry. All ages. 6.30-7.30pm, FREE (Jul 5-Aug 5)
8. Carousel at Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2 (Barbican tube)
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s big-hearted romance set against a carnival backdrop sweeps over the Barbican Centre for 5 show-stopping weeks. Best for ages 5+. 2.30pm, 5pm & 7.30pm (varying dates); £12.50-£75 (Aug 15-Sep 15)
9. Fantastic Mr Fox at Holland Park Theatre, Holland Park, W8 (High Street Kensington tube)
Pack a picnic for the Yucca Lawn to catch this fantastic introduction to opera for young children, a lively adaptation of Roald Dahl’s foxy tale directed by Stephen Barlow. For all ages. 11am (Jul 26); 3pm (Jul 17, 19, 31 & Aug 2, 4); 1pm and 4pm (Jul 21, 28); £12-£65.50 (Jul 17-Aug 4)
10. The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse on Puppet Theatre Barge, Petersham Rd (opposite Terrace Gardens ), TW10 6UT (Richmond overground)
Take an idyllic trip along the Thames as the floating theatre makes its summer escape from Little Venice. See the classic rich mouse, poor mouse tale brought to life with puppets. All ages. 2.30pm, adult £10/child £8.50 (Jul 28-Aug 12)