He was mouthing along with the words “Once there was a fish and his name was Tiddler. He wasn’t much to look at with his plain grey scales.”
And all around the theatre I could hear other small children and their parents reciting the lines as well.
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s books truly have a special place in children’s bookshelves across the country and before the show even started the excitement in the theatre was at peak levels.
I had seen Scamp Theatre’s fantastic adaptation of Stick Man a couple of years ago at the Theatre Royal and both my son and daughter still talk about how much they loved it.
I was intrigued to see if the same company could come up with another winner and it turns out they have.
This wonderfully exuberant and imaginative production is based on Julia Donaldson’s book of the same name but as an added bonus the performance includes dramatisations of three other classic Donaldson tales: Monkey Puzzle, The Smartest Giant in Town and A Squash and a Squeeze.
The stage was simple and eye catching, and the story was told using lots of visually effective props. A scarf becomes a hissing, writhing snake; a white tube transforms into an elephant’s trunk; yellow balls unravel as anorak hats, promptly transforming the three narrators into fishermen ready to tell the next tale.
The trio of talented and energetic actors are endlessly inventive, skilfully weaving sparkling storytelling, lively songs and great puppetry. The latter is used to brilliant effect in the Tiddler story, where hand-held fish and shark puppets cast eerie shadows on the back of the stage.
The show, which is produced by Freckle Productions, oozes imagination and toe tapping music and at only one hour run time is a perfect introduction to the theatre for small wriggly tots.
As we were leaving the theatre my son promptly asked when we were going to see it again – got to be a sign of a good show!
Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales is on at the Theatre Royal, Brighton, Tuesday 21 August at 10.30am; 1.30pm and 4.30pm.