Photo – Robert Workman
The Tiger Who Came to Tea is a ‘yummy, scrummy’ delight to watch on stage at QPAC’s Playhouse. This lively musical play beautifully brings the whimsy and joy of the characters and story to life from Judith Kerr’s bestselling children’s book.
David Wood’s adaptation (in Australia direct from London’s West End) for the stage visually captures the playful and innocent essence of Kerr’s story. The audience is gently guided all the way through the performance with the help of the main characters, Sophie and Sophie’s mother and father, beginning with a warm and welcoming hello and a catchy song that everyone is able to join in with. Inviting the audience into the story immediately engaged all the little and big folk who were there and keen to be a part of the action as it unfolded on stage.
Everyone in the audience was encouraged to help sing-along, count with the tick-tock of the clock and dance with the tea drinking, biscuit-bingeing, ever-hungry for more beguiling tiger. There were giggles and laughs a-plenty as the performers deftly presented the pantomime action of the play. Sophie’s excitement and delight became the audience’s, as the tension of each knock at the door built and all who awaited the expected surprise of the tiger grinned gleefully with the comings and goings of each visitor. A wonderful blithe energy filled the theatre with each discovery and character folly that played out on stage.
The tiger charmed its way into everyone’s hearts with an enigmatic smile, a shake of a paw and a wiggle of the tail. In between each gluttonous mouthful of sandwich, cake, tea, beer, the contents of the fridge and pantry, and all the water from the tap, the tiger would return to its debonair and regal air. One minute the children were mesmerized by the tiger’s long, graceful and gliding movements and the next minute laughter filled the air as the tiger, gulped, slurped and burped its way through Sophie’s family’s entire kitchen.
The quaint and cheerful soundtrack and songs accompanied by the quirkiness of the sound effects and the actors’ vocal effects (such as the car ride scene) ensured there was never a dull moment as the story ticked along. The staging, and especially the costumes, were a gorgeous realization of the illustrations from the book. The food props that kept disappearing and reappearing were also an ingenious touch of stagecraft magic that kept the audience ensconced in the childlike fantasy and reverie of this theatrical piece.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea is a lovely larger than life celebration of Judith Kerr’s classic children’s storybook. No doubt this playful jaunt into Sophie and Mummy’s experience of The Tiger Who Came to Tea will capture the imagination of all ages who endearingly embrace the tale today or rediscover from childhood past the glee and fantasy of sharing your afternoon tea with an enchanting tiger.
QPAC and Andrew Kay in association with Nick Brooke and Kenny Wax present
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
Venue: Playhouse, QPAC, Cultural Centre, South Bank, Brisbane
Dates: 14 – 17 January 2016
Bookings: qpac.com.au | 136 246
Suitable for children aged 2 years plus