Antoinia Fraser, one of the first reviewers of this favourite children’s book, described Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came To Tea as “a dazzling first book” with the ability to have children “scream with delicious pleasure at the dangerous naughtiness” of having a tiger over for afternoon tea.
A story that has endured the test of time as here we are 50 years later sitting in the Theatre Royal Haymarket surrounded by the excited gasps of young Londoners (and their adults) awaiting this musical stage adaptation by David Wood to begin.
“Where’s the tiger mummy?” My toddler asks as the show begins and we are welcomed into a chaotic breakfast scene with Sophie, Mummy and Daddy. But there is still a little wait before we can become acquainted with our favorite mighty feline as the suspense is built with other visitors ringing the doorbell (the postman and the milkman).
At last Mr Tiger makes his entrance to squeals of excitement from the audience, my toddler is jumping up and down clapping “There’s the tiger mummy” to which his neighbour replies with “roooarrrrr”.
The bright orange costume and the panto style moments where we shout in unison ‘He’s behind you!” are entertaining for children whilst the twerking tiger is funny for adults (this feline has some moves under his paws).
There are also magical moments and great stage trickery when food disappears from plates, the orange squash is gulped down and of course lots of simple catchy songs involving ‘yummy yummy sausages, scrum-my scrum-my chips’ where at least half of the auditorium got up to participate and attempt the accompanying moves to the songs.
Sure The Tiger may now be in his 50’s but he’s still full of beans (and biscuits and tea) and he shows no signs of slowing down still very much able to delight audiences with his pleasantly polite presence.
The Tiger Who Came To Tea Live is a puurrrrfect show for the whole family, sure the comedy may be at times a little creaky and the archetypal portrayal of a 50’s family somewhat dated but the loyal retelling of the tale, the audience participation, the bright colourful costumes and the cheerful songs make it a great show to bring the original story to life.
The Tiger Who Came To Tea Live is playing until 19 Jan 2020 at Theatre Royal Haymarket. To book online visit www.tigerstealive.com or call the Box Office on 020 7930 8800