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Tabby McTat live on stage: Review

Home » Reviews » Tabby McTat live on stage: Review

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.

Tabby McTat. 2019 UK Tour. Photo Mark Senior

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’.

Tabby McTat live on stage is at The Lowry from 6-8 September 2019. See website for full tour details.

Hear song Me You and the Old Guitar from Tabby McTat.

Read our interview with children’s author, Julia Donaldson.

Written by
Carmel Thomason
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Written by Carmel Thomason