I am part of a local group for ‘Inspirational Kids’ and occasionally, amongst other events and support that they offer families, they offer discounted theatre tickets. We have seen Shrek, Footloose and Club Tropicana all with this group; every show has been great and we always have great seats near the front of the theatre too. In May, the group organiser offered us the chance to go to see ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ with them. It used to be one of Joshua’s favourite books and he still chimes in with key lines such as ” Daddy’s beer!” and ” they put on their coats and went to a café!” So of course we wanted to go to see it and I invited my sister, niece and best friend to come along with us, but only my sister was free to join us. So back in May I bought three tickets and finally, it came around yesterday.
Joshua and I left home at midday, to drive the hour to get to the theatre and my sister did the same as it is almost exactly halfway between us. Joshua kept asking for food on the way and so I stopped at a KFC drive in and bought him some popcorn chicken to keep him happy and then we continued on our route, as it is easy to eat on the move. We arrived at the theatre at 1.30pm, for a 2pm matinee, but parking was problematic so I called my sister, who had already arrived by using Park & Ride into town. She got Joshua out of the car, much to his excitement, while I found a car park a short walk away. I found them at a café by the river, once I had parked and we had just ten minutes before the show started so it was timed perfectly, as we made our way to the theatre entrance. I showed my tickets on my phone as Joshua negotiated the steps down into the theatre and then he had to shuffle along a row to the centre, being careful not to stand on anyone’s feet. As it was a children’s show, the audience was primarily small children with their parents or grandparents, so their hearts sank as they saw tall Joshua sit in front of them and block their view , despite their booster cushions. Luckily it was not full so they could move along to get a better view.
There were only three actors in the show, plus the tiger : Sophie and her parents. It began slowly with a hello song and I was not sure that Joshua would stay awake, or engaged, for it. But once the story began properly, with recognisable lines from the book, he was mesmerised and watched wide eyed and open-mouthed. He was delighted when the tiger came on stage and the real action began. The show was exactly an hour long, which was perfect for the attention span of toddlers and Joshua! I enjoyed watching Joshua’s expression and listening to the children around us asking their parents of the tiger was real! There was lots of audience participation and there were songs too, so it was an interactive show and we all three loved it. I often feel that Joshua enjoys the first half of shows but that he struggles to have an interval and then sit still for the same amount of time again. So this hour-long show was perfect for him and he really seemed to enjoy it.
We were starving when we got out of the theatre at 3pm, so we crossed the road and entered an Italian restaurant for late lunch/early tea. Joshua and I shared a pizza with chips and then I enjoyed a latte. My sister and I talked and laughed continuously, while Joshua watched the other diners and waiting staff, flashing his bare tummy whenever he could catch somebody’s eye, so he was in his element. We were in that restaurant for a couple of hours, then we walked back to my car and I drove my sister back to the Park & Ride so that she could drive home again. All in all, we shared a very happy afternoon together and I would really recommend the show if it is touring where you are.