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Review: The Tiger Who Came To Tea @ The Lowry

by Yakub-Qureshi

Yakub Qureshi enjoys the classic story of the enigmatic tiger with his daughter at The Lowry

Review of The Tiger Who Came To Tea

The Tiger Who Came to Tea

“Suddenly there was a ring at the door. Sophie’s mummy said, “I wonder who that can be.”

Since it was published in the Sixties, the story of the enigmatic tiger which appears at the door of a suburban household, eating its way through the contents of its saucepans and larder, is an enduring classic of children’s literature.

The greedy animal who clumsily guzzles his way through dinner has delighted thousands of children, underscored by the unspoken threat posed by the ravenous animal, which Kerr herself acknowledges may link back to her experiences of fleeing the Third Reich as a child – and her bold, distinctive drawings have captivated generations of readers.

Now in its fifth year, a stage adaptation of the famous classic has proved a hit around the country.

With only some mild deviations from Kerr’s original wording, the simple, short narrative turns into a near hour-long production without feeling laboured in any way.

Adapted and directed by award-winning David Wood, the spirit of the play remains true to the children’s tale we all know and love but it incorporates songs and the occasional dance, with young members of the audience encouraged to stand up and join in.

My daughter loved singing along with Sophie and her mummy, with lyrics based largely around the wording of the original story.

And children (as well as adults too) squealed with delight as the costumed Tiger managed to make cakes, buns, and sandwiches (along with all the food in the fridge) disappear in a brilliant use of stage magic.

The costumes and set design closely mirror Kerr’s original illustrations, evoking the technicolour conditions of Sixties London.

However, the star of the show is – of course – the Tiger, brilliantly brought to life through imaginative movement, at some times regal and at others, comic.

The highlight for our family is Tiger Aerobics, where the unexpected guest breaks off from his guzzling to engage in a fitness-fuelled workout… with hundreds of children joining in.

The strongest endorsement comes immediately after the curtain closes when a little voice asks “Can we see it again?”.