Purrrrfect Family Entertainment
As Julia Donaldson fans we attended the Tabby McTat production at the pristinely refurbished Leeds Playhouse with immense excitement. Assisting me today was my four year old son Leo, a lover of the book and he was full of anticipation for his first visit to the theatre.
The stage was open with no curtain so props from the story were visible, this created attention-grabbing discussion and a ‘paws’ for thought to pass the time until the show commenced.
From the moment the performance, by Freckle Productions, began it was apparent that there would be audience participation, which was fine, in fact welcome and overall not too pushy. The other audience members appeared to be families with young children who all seemed to join in with delight.
I was not expecting so many songs and because the actors were such talented singers the show had the comforting feel of a musical. If you are familiar with the story you may also have always wondered the tune for the ‘Me, you and the old guitar,’ song – well now we know!
Additional well pronounced songs and raps padded out the story as did the four actors discussing and choosing parts (out of character), then adapting to each with ease. It was a clever way to incorporate all the characters from the story without having to expand the cast. With this structure the costumes were simple but effective therefore each of the performers had jeans and a different coloured t-shirt then added the required ‘cat ears’ or ‘busker hat’ to execute their part at that given time.
The brass band and conjuror scenes were performed particularly well. Although the music was only from a sound system the actors incorporated pretend instruments and had the audience on their feet clapping along. The magic section was not worthy enough for ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ however very believable; my younger assistant was definitely bewildered and impressed.
The convincing acting and empathetic music not only told the story incredibly well but also generated humour and emotion throughout the fifty minute show. I certainly laughed out loud a few times and dare to say shed a tear when they could not find Fred the busker.
Overall purrrrrfect family entertainment and well worth a trip to the theatre.
There are three performances of Tabby McTat on Saturday 2 November 2019 at 10:30am, 1:40pm and 4pm. Tickets cost £14 from (0113) 213 7700 or go to: leedsplayhouse.org.uk/events/tabby-mctat
This post was written by Sarah (and Leo) Lines
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