Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales
A compilation of Donaldson/Scheffler stories, all very well known to most pre-school audience members, this rhythmic, nicely paced little piece, mostly in rhyming couplets with plenty of tunes, succeeds quite well on its own terms. Nothing lasts long enough to get boring. From an adult point of view, however, it’s rather bitty and episodic to be flitting from a story about a monkey who has lost his mother, to a little fish having adventures on his way to school via a reversed take on hoedown style on The Old Woman Who Lived in A Vinegar Bottle and several other narrative diversions. Overall it’s probably 10 minutes too long and might have worked better with one less story.
The cast are a talented, energetic trio, two of whom are accomplished actor musicians on saxophone and accordion, which always adds an extra spark to a children’s show. Wittily imaginative puppetry, including some inventive shadow work, often created out of quirky props, drives the show forward for much of the time. The adaptable set – which starts with a trestle plank between two quasi step ladders as if someone were going to paint the ceiling – gives the action visual height and depth. There are book adaptations of this sort around at the moment for pre-schoolers and this one is good but not the best I’ve seen. A perfectly decent show of its type, though.
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