Saturday, 5 August 2017

The smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the tiger

There are a few films that I will always watch when they're on TV - even though I've seen them many times already. The Wedding Singer is one of those rarities - a film that both me and Hubbie enjoy watching - and when I found out it was going to be a live show I wasn't sure if it would be a patch on the movie which is silly and funny and pretty much driven by star names. So it was a treat to see the show this week and find that the stage show is a great interpretation of a film I love.

Unfortunately a lack of babysitting meant we weren't able to see the show together, but I didn't let that stop me from going along. The show captures the '80s really well from costumes to music and the adverts running along the screen at the top of the stage are spot on. As an eighties kid I can vouch for the authenticity.

The leads are Jon Robyns from Avenue Q, Ray Quinn and Cassie Compton from X Factor ( I don't watch it so I had no idea who they were) and a guest appearance by Ruth Madoc as Grandma that will have you in stitches. The story is pretty much identical to the film so if you're a fan you will recognise it. There are a few small changes to accommodate the already extensive set with some super fast scene changes and clever touches like Glen's car and Robbie's revolving bed - which doesn't revolve.

Often when movies are staged as shows there is an unfair comparison between them, but this show is a fair approximation of the film that preceded it. The leads are likeable and the comic characters play well together. The only bum note for me was Linda. She is suitably evil, but the singing is so over the top that her volume pretty much drowns out any lyrics. The romance between Robbie and Julia is sweet and the wink wink nature of George's interactions with his bandmates are funny, but also a little sad.

If you want to see the show click here: The Wedding Singer

As you already know I am a huge fan of Kids Week - which takes place every August and has done since 1998. It has graduated to being a whole month hosted by the Society of London Theatre where children can go to the theatre for free or greatly reduced ticket prices. When you buy an adult ticket one child gets a free ticket and subsequent children go half price. A lot of shows take part in the scheme and some also do additional activities including puppetry workshops and author talks as well as behind the scenes tours. I promote Kids Week every year as it's such a great way to introduce children to the theatre, but also an affordable option to see some fantastic shows in the West End that you might not otherwise go to.

I've taken Brown Bear for years and he is an experienced theatre goer at the age of six. He can happily sit through a two hour show without fuss and I'm sure that taking him to see shows during Kids Week helped with this early on. One of the first shows I ever took him to see in the West End was The Tiger Who Came to Tea at the Lyric Theatre. He loved it very much and I'm delighted to be taking Blue Bear to see the same production at the Churchill next week. It's based on the much loved classic children's book about a little girl and her mother who are visited by a tiger who proceeds to eat everything in the kitchen. It is a simple story with a lovely singalong tone that captivates the attention of young children from the beginning. The tiger is brilliantly done and it's wonderful to hear the children's reactions when it appears on stage. I remember a 3 year old Brown Bear believing it was a tiger and I hope that Blue Bear will have the same willing suspension of disbelief when he sees the show too.

If you want to book tickets click here: The Tiger Who Came to Tea 

Disclosure: The lovely folks at the Churchill Theatre gave us comps for both shows in return for an honest review / preview. 

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