“Thank you for my nice tea. I think, I’d better go now.”
A classic children’s storybook by Judith Kerr, The Tiger Who Came To Tea, adapted for the stage. A chance for Cara and I to check it out during the Christmas holidays. We might make this an annual event, following last year’s visit to watch Stickman.
Date Visited: Thursday, 19th December 2019 – 1:30pm show
Location: Theatre Royal Haymarket (Trivia – London’s 3rd oldest theatre still in use) – 18 Suffolk St, London SW1Y 4HT
Getting There: Accessible by Underground (Leicester Square or Piccadilly stations), the theatre is a short walk. We arrived by train at London Charing Cross, which is about a 10-minute walk.
Cost: We paid £22.50 each for seats in the Stalls section, seats H11 and H12. Tickets start from £14.50 with babies sitting on laps free. Approximate run time is 55 minutes. Souvenirs available near the entrance, towards the orchestra stalls door.
As I am currently on leave and Cara is on school holidays, it was time to figure out how to spend a day with her. Following a successful trip to Stickman last year, I thought a visit to the theatre again was a good option. After catching the Tube the previous week, I noticed adverts for The Tiger Who Came To Tea showing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Booking done!
Tickets were easy to book online via the TRH website. It showed the seats available and their cost. If you’re unsure what seats you’re booking and the view you may encounter, you can check the theatre on Seatplan. The theatre is very easy to reach from the major stations. We had never been there before, so it was lovely to see the decorative insides. A lot smaller and intimate than I expected! If you have a buggy, there is a storage accessible from outside the theatre, to the right of the main doors. There’s also a cloakroom near the orchestra stalls.
To ensure Cara was familiar with what we were watching, we read the book the night before. Similar to Stickman, there’s a lot of singing and dancing involved, maximising the run time. One of the benefits Tiger has over Stickman is the amount of audience participation it has. Be prepared to sing and dance along throughout the show, and there’s the obligatory ‘he’s behind you’ when the Tiger appears. Cara, along with the numerous kids around us, loved it and it kept them quite engaged.
The actors were very energetic and always smiling. The poor actor in the tiger suit must’ve been sweating bullets underneath that costume and lights. The costumes, stage and props were replicas of the book’s illustrations, as if they were ripped out and dumped onto the stage. Cara’s still wondering how the tiger ate everything, including the packets of food?!
Compared to last year, with Cara now being 5 years old, she was able to sit there and concentrate on the show. Minimal distractions and only had a couple of treats to keep her going. Perhaps the big dim sum lunch we had before the show also helped, but she was noticeably less fidgety. When we exited the theatre after the show, I did ask if The Tiger Who Came To Tea or Stickman was better. Her verdict – The Tiger Who Came To Tea.
We arrived about 90-minutes earlier than our 1:30pm show to grab some lunch in Chinatown. The Stickman review has some other attractions, but I thought I’d add a couple more given it’s almost Christmas:
- Trafalgar Square Christmas Markets – as it’s the most wonderful time of the year, there’s nothing better than the smell of overpriced mulled wine and German hot dogs. But it’s a must and with over 30 stalls, it does burn some time if you arrived too early for the show or want to wander around town afterwards.
- Leicester Square Christmas Markets – what’s better than one Christmas Market? Why two of course. Slightly less stalls but it does have a Santa’s Grotto.
Both the above attractions are free to enter but check their websites for opening times and end dates (currently 5th January 2020).
- Seating within Theatre Royal Haymarket is slightly inclined from the first row to the back, and the dress and upper circles have a higher view. There are some restricted view seats, but as mentioned above, you can check on Seatplan before booking. You can also pick up some booster seats for the little ones.
- Being so centrally located, there’s plenty of food options. As part of the ticket purchase, you receive a voucher for a 99p kids meal at Byron with the purchase of a main adult’s meal. The Byron is conveniently located next to the theatre. We opted for lunch in Chinatown.
- Pack some snacks as I didn’t see any concession stands open at the time, and there’s not a lot of convenient stores nearby.
Burn Time: 4 out of 5 – the performance itself is fairly short at 55 minutes (which is plenty for kids). But you can take the opportunity of being in the City to explore the other parts of town – Christmas markets, museums, Lego and M&M stores, Hamleys etc.
Value: 2 out of 5 – not the cheapest of day’s out once you add up the tickets and lunch (just under £75 for the two of us). But that’s London theatre! You can put a price on Dad and Daughter time (although I just did)…
Overall: 4 out of 5 – as always, a fun day out with Cara who loved the show. The Tiger is definitely a lot funnier on stage than in the book!
Have you seen The Tiger Who Came To Tea? Do you have any other recommendations for us to watch? Please let us know in the comments below.