The Tiger Who Came to Tea is a firm and beloved favourite in our house. Written by Judith Kerr and first published in 1968, it was adapted for the stage as a musical play by David Wood and we were invited to a performance at the Lyric Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue during their Christmas run.
We took Pip and her cousin, who is 4 and half, and they were both entranced. As the play ended, Pip turned to me and said “can we watch it again”. The running time was 55 minutes which was perfect for that age group, and the simple format of one set with only 3 main actors meant that it was super easy for the young audience to follow along, and they were guided by repetitive motifs to guide them as to the plot changes, which I thought worked really well, such as a ticking clock interlude to show the passing of time.
I particularly loved the tiger, and judging from the reactions not just from my kids but those all around us, I wasn’t alone in this view. He (and I do always think of the tiger as male, perhaps for some of the reasons I discuss in this post about the book although there were no sinister implications whatsoever in this adaptation) was extremely compelling – both in his movements and his interactions with Mum and Sophie.
I don’t come from a family where we went to a show or panto each year (although I did go to a number of ballets and plays as child/teenager) so whilst I love musicals, my experience has come mainly through film. Last year though, we took Pip to a children’s ballet performance at Sadler’s Wells which she was entranced by, and at Christmas we also went to see some panto which I found surprisingly enjoyable. Since becoming parents we were determined to make time to go to the theatre more though, particularly with Pip as a family, and so we are also off to another performance next weekend, and the Snowman ballet Christmas Eve. I could highly recommend a family excursion to see The Tiger Who Came to Tea this Christmas!
We watched the trailer below the evening before we went, which really helped give Pip some expectation of what would happen, and I thought did a very good job of giving a flavour of the performance.
There was plenty of opportunity for the audience to join in with some singing or dancing but was done in a way which meant that there was no obligation but allowed the children to be able to stand up and interact in a totally appropriate way.
Performances are showing until 10 January 2016 and tickets are from £14.50 to £23.50 depending on timings and seat choice, which seemed reasonable for a West End theatre performance. All details here.
We were kindly given press tickets to the performance. I received no payment for this post.
Photos provided by the PR company as no photography was permitted in the performance.