Catching a tiger for its tale

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage -

WHAT would you do if a tiger knocked on your door and po­litely asked to have tea?

In Ju­dith Kerr’s cher­ished chil­dren’s book The Tiger Who Came to Tea, young girl So­phie takes it in her stride, in some pretty iconic tights, and in­vites him in.

English ac­tor Abbey Nor­man has played the role of So­phie in the stage adap­ta­tion since it opened at Lon­don’s Blooms­bury The­atre in 2008.

The pro­duc­tion has taken her from the West End to Dubai, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Sin­ga­pore, Beijing, Shang­hai, Sydney and Mel­bourne. It will fi­nally tour Perth in Jan­uary. “This show is a joy to be a part of; it's such a clas­sic book and to bring it to life is a priv­i­lege,” the 30-year-old said.

“If you are a fan of the book it is like the pages com­ing to life in front of your eyes. The de­sign and cos­tumes of the show are mag­i­cal and there are of course some ex­tra sur­prises along the way. The songs add to the at­mos­phere and give the au­di­ence a chance to par­tic­i­pate in the fun and feel a part of our ad­ven­ture.”

Known as the small­est child with the loud­est voice at school, Nor­man said she had jumped at the op­por­tu­nity to work with di­rec­tor David Wood, who “has made chil­dren’s the­atre what it is to­day in the UK”.

“The book was hav­ing its 40th an­niver­sary when we opened and it's amaz­ing that it is still as pop­u­lar to­day,” Nor­man said.

“Ju­dith Kerr's wit and beau­ti­ful il­lus­tra­tions still seem time­less.”

Nor­man said she looked for­ward to see­ing rel­a­tives in Perth who she last vis­ited when around her char­ac­ter So­phie’s age.

“It was as mag­i­cal an ad­ven­ture then for me as a tiger com­ing to tea,” she said.

“I re­mem­ber very well my first en­counter with a kan­ga­roo. He didn't come to tea but I brought tea to him.”

Abbey Nor­man as So­phie, Je­nanne Red­man as her mum and Matthew Dud­ley as the tiger.

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