Let en­ter­tain­ment take cen­tre stage

The Jewish Chronicle - - JC SPECIAL -

S a c hi l d y o u may re­mem­ber em­barkingonthe sum­mer hol­i­days with the feel­ing that the next six weeks were go­ing to be some kind of par­adise. But after two weeks of end­less Mo­nop­oly and Ludo the ex­pe­ri­ence be­gan to pale a lit­tle.

How­ever, there are plenty of sum­mer shows around this year which can give much needed en­ter­tain­ment to chil­dren and, just as im­por­tantly, respite to their par­ents.

At Wim­ble­don’s Polka Dot Theatre the smaller ones will be de­lighted with an af­ter­noon out at Moomin­sum­mer Mad­ness, fea­tur­ing the Scan­di­na­vian car­toon cre­ations, the Moomins, which have cap­ti­vated a gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren. The strange, bear-like crea­tures have been brought to life as pup­pets in Phil Porter’s pro­duc­tion and they are forced to find a new home in a float­ing theatre after Moomin Val­ley is de­stroyed by a flood. The show is suit­able for four- to eight-year-olds. Un­til Au­gust 16. www.polkathe­atre.com

If your chil­dren will have spent end­less hours watch­ing Hor­ri­ble His­to­ries on CBBC — the pro­gramme in which the bizarre and grue­some from Brit- ain’s past is pre­sented for pri­ma­ryschool-age chil­dren. Its aim is the laud­ably Rei­thian one of ed­u­cat­ing while en­ter­tain­ing. This sum­mer, the lat­est stage in­car­na­tion of the fran­chise is at the Gar­rick Theatre. En­ti­tled Hor­ri­ble His­to­ries: Barmy Bri­tain Part Two it of­fers the fa­mil­iar jokey re­con­struc­tion of his­tory in a for­mula which will tickle chil­dren and grown-ups alike. Au­gust 3 to 31. www.ni­maxthe­atres.com

In sum­mer hol­days past, DVDs of Char­lie and the Choco­late Fac­tory have saved the day on many oc­ca­sions. Now we have the all-singing all-danc­ing West End mu­si­cal directed by Sam Men­des (of Sky­fall fame). The story is the fa­mil­iar one of Char­lie fight­ing four brat­tish ri­vals for a life­time’s sup­ply of con­fec­tionery but the show has been up­dated and the multi-mil­lion­pound bud­get makes for a mind-blow­ing pro­duc­tion. Tick­ets aren’t cheap but this is a guar­an­teed win­ner. www. re­al­lyuse­ful.com

If you are a fan of Roald Dahl’s sto­ries and haven’t yet seen Matilda The Mu­si­cal, the phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess of this West End adap­ta­tion of his story means you still have plenty of time to do so. The show, cre­ated by Den­nis Kelly and Tim Minchin, tells the story of a young girl gifted with mag­i­cal pow­ers whose dimwit­ted par­ents are obliv­i­ous of her tal­ents and be­come the ob­ject of her pranks. Un­til May 2015. www.re­al­lyuse­ful.com

For par­ents of lit­tle ones (be­tween three and seven), South­gate’s Chick­en­shed Theatre has more of a bud­get of­fer­ing. In Lon­don Bridges – Tales from the Shed’s Sum­mer Shows, story col­lec­tor Jackto Fac­to­tum tells, through pup­petry and rhyme, mag­i­cal tales from around the world. July 31 to Au­gust 9. www.chick­en­shed.org.uk The Tiger Who Came To Tea at the Lyric Theatre is based on one of the most fa­mous chil­dren’s books of the lot, writ­ten and il­lus­trated by Judith Kerr, who fled with her fam­ily to Bri­tain from Ger­many on the eve of the Sec­ond World War. For any­one who doesn’t know the story (there must be some­one), Kerr writes mag­i­cally about a tiger who vis­its a young girl, So­phie, and guz­zles all the food i n the cup­board, all the water in the tap... and all daddy’s beer. The show in­cludes magic, sin­ga­longs and plenty of chaos. Un­til Septemb e r 7 . www. ni­maxthe­atres. com

If you have small chil­dren, they will al­most cer­tainly have been trans­fixed at some time by In the Night Gar­den, with Ig­gle Pig­gle, Upsy Daisy and The Tombli­boos. The pro­gramme has been trans­formed into a live show which ar­rives at the Traf­ford Cen­tre in Manch­ester for a run be­tween Au­gust 2 and 23 which will be an ex­cit­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for any pre-school chil­dren. www. night­gar­den­live.com

Claire Freed­man and Ben Cort’s best­selling chil­dren’s book Aliens Love Un­der­pants has been adapted for the stage and reaches the West End this sum­mer with a run at the Le­ices­ter Square Theatre. The show is based on the book’s per­fectly plau­si­ble premise that while you might think that aliens came to earth with a view to tak­ing over the planet, what they re­ally want to do is steal your pants. Un­til Au­gust 31. wwwle­ices­ter­squarethe­atre.com

And if you have never at­tended an ele­phant party you will need to get along to the New Lon­don Theatre for one of the sum­mer’s big­gest hits – The Ele­phan­tom. The show is about a girl who is vis­ited by an ele­phant ghost which ap­pears fun at first but pro­ceeds to bring chaos in the girl’s pre­vi­ously or­dered life. The show, adapted from Ross Col­llins’ book, is told word­lessly but by all ac­counts the stag­ing is pacy and ex­cit­ing. Un­til Septem­ber 6. www. ele­phan­tomon­stage.com

The Tiger Who Came To Tea

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