Stage adaptations of children’s books and television programmes are increasingly common these days. Often I have felt they fail to live up to the original version which is always disappointing. However, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, adapted by David Wood from Judith Kerr's much-loved book, distinguished itself in being impressive in many different ways, and living up to the spirit of the original version.
The cast were likeable and believable- particularly Abbey Norman who played the little girl Sophie - one completely forgot she was actually a full grown adult, so captivating was her performance. Thomas O'Connell, playing the eponymous tiger, excelled in showing off the energetic, cheeky and flirtatious character of the unexpected visitor.
The use of props was excellent: there were little magic tricks that I still cannot figure out! The staging arrangement was simple but versatile: the audience were kept entranced with the setting for the dramatic scenes of the tiger's visit, then they remained engrossed with the simple setting of a cafe in which the family finally get to eat their dinner.
There were lots of songs and audience participation was encouraged which is always good for little ones. What struck me the most was the simplicity of the story, and the charm of the whole play. It was a sweet, subtle performance, happily avoiding the so-often seen patronising or over the top acting and direction aimed at a preschool audience.
I would recommend this show, for both children (my son loved it) and indeed parents too. A lovely show.