Reviewed by Kathryn Harrison
Having two young girls, aged seven and two and a half, my family is very familiar with the works of Julia Donaldson. Favourites include Zog, Stickman, What the Ladybird Heard and The Gruffalo’s Child but my personal favourite has to be Tabby McTat. When I heard Tabby McTat was going on tour and would be visiting Liverpool I think I was more excited than the girls! We visited the Everyman Theatre on Hope Street in Liverpool this afternoon (10 October 2019) to watch the 4:30pm performance. I did get a bit muddled and we originally went to the Playhouse Theatre and had to do a mad dash across Liverpool to get to the Everyman. Note to all theatre goers, check your tickets! Thankfully we still made it in plenty of time.
The Everyman Theatre is a lovely intimate theatre perfect for a show aimed at young children, such as this one. Due to the size and shape of the auditorium, with the seats surrounding the performance area in a semi-circle, the audience really feels part of the show and can get a really good look at everything on stage no matter where you’re sat. This is brilliant for children who often struggle to see what is going on in larger theatres.
This was a Freckle Productions show, as they also produce Zog and Stickman touring performances I knew they clearly have experience with this genre so had high expectations. The show began with just one actor on stage who was playing the role of Samuel Spratt, Tabby McTat’s son. Samuel wanted to tell his father’s story but needed some help so was joined on stage by Paul, Annie and Rhia, three of Tabby McTat’s biggest fans. Between the four actors they retold the story with lots of added fun, including music and magic! Like many other children’s plays we’ve seen the actors all had minimal costumes to represent the character they were playing, this was absolutely fine for my oldest daughter, but my youngest daughter gets quite confused by it and kept asking “Where’s Tabby McTat?” Despite her confusion my little one was still transfixed by the show, the energy of the actors was infectious, and the original songs were so catchy. The audience were greatly encouraged to participate in the show, lots of clapping, singing along, and foot stamping. My daughter and I even got a high five! We all loved the magic parts of the show with my seven year old talking about the massive straw all the way home in amongst singing “you, me and the old guitar, how perfectly, perfectly happy we are” at the top of our voices in the car.
The running time was around an hour with no interval which was the perfect time for small children. During its run at the Everyman Theatre there are performances during the day and late afternoon so perfect for both preschool children or as an after school treat. I would definitely recommend this show for all families, whether you’re familiar with the story or not.
Tickets cost £13 (booking fees may apply).
Tabby McTat is at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool from 10-12 October 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.everymanplayhouse.com or call the box office on 0151 709 4776.
Liverpool Everyman, 5-11 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BH | 0151 709 4776