Pros: Catchy songs, a lot of humour and plenty of opportunities for interaction will keep kids engaged throughout the show.
Cons: There are big drops in pace every now and again.
The Christmas season is always a good time for lovers of both literature and theatre, with many adaptations of famous as well as lesser-known books making their way to the stage. Mr Tiger Goes Wild, brought to life by Goblin and Chelsea Theatre, might fall in the latter category, but that doesn’t make it any less of a wonderful show for children ages three and over.
Mr Tiger and Mr Deer are two sensible, well-mannered friends living a rather humdrum life in the city. Every day is the same; they even wash their underpants at the same time every morning (eight o’clock, if you were wondering). Until, one day, Mr Tiger has a bit of a midlife crisis and decides to shake things up. This breakaway from the usual routine involves throwing around Mr Deer’s boring cucumber sandwiches and face-planting into a cake, before Mr Tiger swaps his suit for an ensemble involving a lot of leather and moving to the wilderness.
Predictably, the children in the audience were having a blast, especially with the food being thrown around. Tom Penn (Mr Tiger) and Sheldon Green (Mr Deer) also keep them engaged by having them roar along to the music and showing off their best tiger dance moves. The pace drops occasionally, particularly during a long, somewhat dull song in which the two friends realise how much they miss each other. The rest of the show, however, flies by thanks to the rocking songs (that I was still humming on the train home) and the genuinely charming way Green and Penn bounce off of one another.
Mr Tiger Goes Wild is a sweet and funny story that children will really take something away from: the importance of being yourself and giving your friends room to do the same. It’s the type of creative, high-quality kids’ theatre that can sometimes be hard to find in the overwhelming amount of less-than-original pantos that rule the theatres this time of year. So take your own children, or borrow a couple, and find out for yourself. I challenge you not to feel the desire to have a proper food fight when you get home.
Author: Peter Brown
Adaptation: Matt Borgatti
Director: James Blakey
Producer: Goblin Theatre
Music and Lyrics: Will Dollard, Mary Erskine and David Lydon
Box Office: 020 7352 1967
Booking Link: http://www.chelseatheatre.org.uk/project/mr-tiger-goes-wild/
Booking Until: 22 December 2014