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There’s a Tiger in the Garden | Jackson’s Lane

This beautiful piece of children's theatre follows young Nora (Tamsin Lynes) who is bored at home with 'nothing to do'. With the help of Grandma, Jeff the Giraffe, and feathered friends Peck and Pirch, we discover that there is in fact a whole world of play and learning just down the garden path. This musical is an adaptation of Lizzy Stewart's award-winning children's book, and uses puppetry, multi-rolling, and music to immerse everyone in the story.

It is an interactive piece, where little ones and adults alike are encouraged to answer questions, feed the birds, and dance along to the moves. Direction and book by Emma Higham facilitates this brilliantly - presenting everything as an invitation rather than a demand, and extending the performance beyond the bounds of the stage. This doesn't infantilize the younger audience members, but rather offer an all encompassing sensory experience that they can partake in as much or as little as they please.

The set design by Laura McEwen is ingenious as it changes and evolves throughout the show, but this is often so subtle you don't notice until after. Not only does this keep the focus on the actors, but it helps young people stay grounded and calm in what could otherwise be an overwhelming environment. One of my favourite things about the scenery is how it always had a purpose - there is nothing there purely for the aesthetic which I really respect, and it makes for a beautiful background. It also allows for 'theatre magic' to be sprinkled throughout, making this show a great choice for first family visits to a live performance. 

Along the same lines I must mention the costumes, and the puppets by Hannah Barrie that went hand in hand with them. Their actual clothes were lovely and less colourful than all other elements but for good reason; the cast of only 3 play nearly 10 characters between them so the flexibility provided by the more neutral base was definitely required.

The fabric dragonflies (courtesy of Kelly Vassie), spooky plants (thanks to Nick Ash), and of course tiger himself (Keith Frederick), were so well made they could have been straight out of a wildlife magazine. Their bold colours and bright details really stood out and we're the stars of the show without a doubt. 

Lighting by Rosanna Mallinson massively contributed to the realistic feelings of natural environments, despite being inside an auditorium. A gorgeous blend of warm and cool tones made for a very visceral sensation of the habitats we were exploring. 

Freya Wynn-Jones has written atmospheric songs which showcase the voices of Clarke Joseph Edwards and Felicity Donnelly while remaining easy to follow with simple lyrics. The underscore of gentle acapella and almost twittering animal noises consolidates the ambiance created by the physical aspects of the show. 

Running at Jackson’s Lane Theatre until the 27th October before heading off to Bristol, There’s a Tiger in The Garden is a great way to spend an hour as a family and I'd recommend it highly!


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review


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