Tabby McTat, the cat with the loudest of meows, is another of author, Julia Donaldson and illustrator, Axel Scheffler’s much-loved characters. The pair behind other children’s favourites like ‘The Gruffalo’ and ‘Room with a Broom’ are master storytellers. In Tabby McTat they weave the same magic of adventure, fun and heart-warming friendship to ignite the imaginations of little ones to become epic and heroic.
In this live stage version Freckle Productions take a largely bare stage and transform it with song and atmospheric lighting, along with bags of energy and audience interaction to bring the story imaginatively to life.
Tabby McTat is a busker’s cat, so as you can imagine music is at the heart of this production. While it is a shame there is no live music, the four actors get around this comically by making an accordion out of old newspaper and bag-pipes from a couple of bags and a bottle. Busker Fred’s guitar is a two-dimensional MDF cut-out. While initially a disappointment it allows the actors to quickly swap hats to switch roles and encourages all the children to join-in with their air guitars.
Sometimes different actors take on the same role and there is gender-blind casting too – so there is lots to keep everyone on their toes following the action.
As a fast-paced, musical for kids, Tabby McTat appeals to a range of ages from pre-schoolers to early juniors. There is a whole mix of song styles from folk to hip-hop, rapping to full-blown Broadway show tunes with jazz hands . When poor Fred breaks his leg and bangs his head there is even a cheery, love-song to the NHS.
Among the music and mayhem there is also a fun magic act and lots of laughter. The hour zips along leaving everyone smiling, dancing, and singing. Or as Tabby McTat would put it, ‘purr-fectly happy’.★ ★ ★ ★