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Aug 21 / Caro

The Tiger Who Came to Tea at The Lyric Theatre

The Tiger Who Came to Tea was one of my favourite books growing up. I recollect reading it over and over, even once I knew it by heart. I loved the simplicity of the story, and the matter-of-fact tone that made it seem a quite ordinary tale, rather than the stuff of fantasy. It’s a book that I’ve enjoyed rediscovering with Thomas, appreciating it afresh for Judith Kerr’s trademark illustrations, and the unavoidable nostalgia in the story itself, as well as the fact that it was a part of my childhood too.

During Ticketmaster’s “Kids Week” Promotion, I was lucky enough to secure tickets for Thomas and I to see the theatrical production of The Tiger Who Came to Tea at the Lyric Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue. During Kids Week, free child places are available with a full priced adult ticket. I had originally intended to book Aliens Love Underpants (another book that Thomas loves) but couldn’t get suitable times for us under the promotion. That was when I realised that we could see the Tiger instead.

Kids Week is a good deal. Although it wasn’t Thomas’s first trip to see a theatre production (he’s been to, and loved, The Night Before Christmas and Not Now, Bernard at the Unicorn, in addition to the participatory Sensacional event there) but this was his first trip to a proper West End theatre, with a full auditorium rather than the small, intimate and open seating adopted at the Unicorn productions. I had some concerns he wouldn’t want to sit for the entire hour, or would freak out at seeing the Tiger come to life, rather than staying safely in the pages of his book. (This latter concern grew a little when, at the start of this week, Thomas declared that “I don’t like Tigers.” I asked him why, and he responded “Because they are scary. Rah!”) I also knew that he was pretty unlikely to actually sit in his seat throughout, and would quite probably want to sit on me. For all these reasons it was nice not to have to pay out for a full priced ticket for him. I felt less pressure to stay if it really wasn’t going well!

I needn’t have worried too much though. He didn’t sit in his own seat for anything other than the ten minutes before the show started. But then, to be fair, neither did I! The lady in front of us had a child probably a little older than Thomas with her who wanted to sit on her lap, She offered us the extra seat this created, which meant we moved from the second row of the Dress Circle to the front row, with a fabulous view. Thomas did benefit from sitting on me in order to see better though – and it’s definitely a consideration if taking younger children to the theatre.

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And he absolutely loved it. The play was simple enough, and faithful enough to the book in its styling and dialogue, that it was easy for little ones to follow. There were plenty of songs and even dance routines for everyone to join in with. In fact Thomas was so over exuberant with his “pouncing” during Tigerobics that I had brief nightmares of him flying over the edge of the balcony from our new front row seats! He giggled and clapped and shouted along and looked at me sadly when the Tiger was ready to leave saying “Does the Tiger have to go now?” He waved his Tiger flag furiously during the applause at the end and told me as we left “That was so fun Mummy”.

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I’m so glad that he enjoyed it.Theatre has long been one of my passions, and I’ve always hoped that it would be something Thomas might grow to love too. The signs are certainly good. I’m so glad too that there are an increasing number of these kind of child-friendly shows cropping up in regional theatres and across London.Chatting and fidgeting is perfectly fine, because everyone is in the same boat, and the performances are adjusted to suit.

We followed up our theatre adventure by meeting Daddy for a spot of lunch and then popping in to Daddy’s office too – Thomas was quite fixated on seeing what Ian does there and where his telephone is (?!) He charmed Ian’s colleagues by playing with his trains on the floor of the office and chatting away amiably to them about Thomas and Friends, the train ride to London and how he wanted to go home on a bus. The kid makes me proud in the strangest ways every single day!

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This is not a sponsored post. I’m not associated with Ticketmaster or the production in any way and I bought my own ticket. I can, however, highly recommend going. The Tiger Who Came to Tea is on at the Lyric theatre until the 7th of September.

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3 Comments

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  1. Carie / Aug 22 2014

    That’s such a great idea – I’d love to be able to take Kitty to more theatre but there isn’t to much on near us. We took her to My First Cinderella ballet last year and she loved it but I’ve not spotted anything similar recently – oh to live a smidgen nearer London!

    • Caro / Aug 24 2014

      We are extremely lucky where we live. Not only do we have easy access to London, but there seems to be a fair amount at accessible “regional” theatres too. We’re off to Peppa Pig (I have no idea why I’m doing this to myself!) in a couple of weeks too.

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