Review - Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales at The Core at Corby Cube

Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales
Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales

Like almost every other household in the UK my children's bookshelves are filled with Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler stories.

Some of these are read on repeat night after night, whilst others fail to capture the imagination of either parent or child, with their plots or rhymes falling short of the rest.

The ubiquitous author / illustrator duo have set the bar extremely high, so it is not surprising that they sometimes fail to hit the mark.

And the same can be said for Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales, a theatrical adaptation of four of their books, which was brought to The Core at Corby Cube recently.

Unless you are a huge fan of books Tiddler, Monkey Puzzle, A Squash and a Squeeze and The Smartest Giant in Town, then this artistic retelling is something of a confusing blend of music, puppetry and song.

My two boys, who are becoming accustomed to book adaptations, having seen The Jungle Book, The Singing Mermaid, Wind in the Willows and Dear Zoo in the past six months, just did not have the attention span for this latest production.

A big disadvantage was that they only knew two of the stories and the narrative flitted back and forth between Monkey Puzzle and three other tales.

Despite the manic, lively performances and excellent use of imaginative props, the show lacked paced and the young audience was more restless than usual. My two-year-old was initially entranced by the live saxophone, quirky songs and animals made out of sheets, socks and dramatic shadow puppets but it only last for half of the show.

Meanwhile my five-year-old was totally bewildered throughout due to the abstract nature of the production and lack of focal point. My own feeling was that it was too clever for its own good, and needed simplifying to really connect with the audience.

To its credit the three actors, two female and one male, were energetic, competent and witty but they never really successfully engaged with the audience meaning the show fizzled out towards the end.

Enjoyment of this show will hugely depend on how much your children know and love the four books, but unfortunately for mine it never really resonated.