Author: Laura Mason
“In the light of the moon lay a little egg….”
It’s the children’s story we all know so well, it has become an institution literally around the world with an impressive 41m copies sold in over 60 languages. I still have my childhood copy, plus over the past few years I have accrued the story as a board, crinkle, colouring and pop up book!
Shamefully, what I know less of are Eric Carle’s other stories which makes this visit a juxtaposition of the familiar yet unfamiliar.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show is a new production to the West End that combines four colourful stories from the wonderful world of Eric Carle – The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and, of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Last weekend, with the kiddiewinks and hubby, we headed to Theatreland aka Leicester Square to seek out the intimate Ambassadors Theatre where the show is running until 8 January.
Seated in the circle, I think its safe to say there’s not a bad seat in the house, very important when it comes to children’s viewing.
Kicking off with The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, it’s a story that builds up momentum. My five-year-old daughter gasped at the ‘magic’ of the production as the artist would paint an animal that came to life. The repetitive nature of the story appeals to little ones that like to predict a storyline.
Switching the story every 15 minutes was key to holding their concentration, adding new characters, puppets and movement. The finale could only be topped with the most famous of all, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which generated a crescendo of applause as the beautiful butterfly took over the stage during the finale.
I mentioned how captivated my three and five year old were, but my eight month old thoroughly enjoyed it too – the large pops of colours from the puppets and accompanying lighting kept her mesmerized, particularly during the layout of Mister Seahorse as the music, colour, bubbles and glitter provided some fantastic stimulation.
For my husband and I, seeing the children enjoy and take in a piece of literature in an alternate format was all the enjoyment we needed. The engaging ‘wows’, laughs and claps from the kids as they were transfixed made it not just a wonderful family day out, but opportunity to firmly cement a shared experience.
Bringing such an iconic tale to life with puppetry is no mean feat, however with four animated actors, a lot of colour, and 75 amazing puppets it was a superb show.
It has a running time of one hour, just the right amount of time for little ones to hold their interest…or needing the toilet!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show will be on at the Ambassadors Theatre from Friday 2 December 2016 to Sunday 8 January 2017 before going on tour around the UK. To buy tickets and find out more, visit www.hungrycaterpillarshow.com