As a child my parents sang the Edward Lear poem The Owl and the Pussycat to me every bedtime, a tradition I now continue with my own young children.
As a result the anthropomorphic story of an unlikely couple eloping to a strange land has always held a special place in my heart and is similarly treasured by my two sons for which it is a lyrical comfort blanket.
We were therefore all eager to see the Full House Theatre production of this cherished story performed at The Core at Corby Cube recently.
What we did not realise was that this adaptation is inspired by the poem but is not a retelling of it, something which my two and five-year-old were sorely disappointed to discover.
In this version the audience join Owly-cat and fellow family members, Jumblie and Quangle Wangle Quee, in a journey to the dolomphious land where the bong tree grows, learning all about the creatures who live there and their curious habits.
The performance plays like a sequel to The Owl and the Pussycat, as the half-owl half-cat protagonist seeks to understand her dual heritage. To its credit this is a powerful, modern tale of family and identity where gender is irrelevant and diversity is celebrated. This is an important message for all ages, although I suspect much of this is lost on such a young audience who only soak up the moral fable unconsciously.
The trio of actors give a solid performance keeping the tempo steady and making excellent use of the imaginative set.
The rhythmic verse and quaint ditties just about hold the attention of the preschool audience and an interactive game of moon volleyball is a welcome respite from the more abstract elements of the performance.
Like Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales this is a fantastic piece of artistic theatre but whether it is suitable for the intended audience is likely to be highly subjective.
Half way through my eldest whispered to me '"It's not like The Owl and the Pussycat" and that pretty much summed it up.
If you are not familiar with the original poem then this is likely to be less of a barrier, but for my family, it was an impurrfect production.
The Owl and the Pussycat is now on tour across the country.