All too often I whisk the big two off to the theatre leaving Amy at home because it’s too late or too grown up. Not this time. Tonight it was Amy’s turn for an adventure. Tonight we went to The Lowry to watch The Very Hungry Caterpillar performed live on stage.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a literary icon. A story I remember from my own childhood, one I’ve used in the classroom and one Ben could tell by heart at less than three years old. It was in fact first published in 1969!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar show lasts for about an hour and is suitable for children from around the age of 2, or essentially when they can sit still long enough to watch the performance. At three, Amy is getting much better at this and an hour seems to be a good length of show for her to manage.
Of course it would be impossible to stretch out the tale of The Very Hungry Caterpillar itself over a whole hour. The show is actually made up of four separate Eric Carle stories – The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and finally, The Very Hungry Caterpillar performed with an array of large colourful puppets.
I must admit to not being overly familiar with the first three stories, I know of them but they’re not books we own and I don’t think Amy will have ever heard the stories before but that didn’t stop her being any the less entranced by the performance on stage.
Each of the tales is told through a mixture of music, dance, puppetry and reciting Eric Carle’s words just as they were written. The puppets have been made beautifully and are so true to Eric Carle’s original tissue paper collages that they may as well have just leaped from the page.
Although the audience is of course very young, it was clear that they were all really enjoying the show as everyone was sat beautifully watching and listening, there was a lovely hum of chatter as children excitedly talked about the things they saw on stage, Amy included. She spent much of the show sat on the edge of her seat utterly mesmerised. (It was as much of a pleasure for me to watch her enjoying it as it was to watch the show itself)
The pièce de résistance of course, and what we’d all really come to see, was the final act. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Now I can pretty recite this story word for word, as I’m sure can most of you, so it was almost difficult not to tell the story along with the performers! However nobody could resist shouting out the immortal words “But he was still hungry . . . !”
As soon as the show had finished, Amy announced, “Oh, but I miss them!” – she wasn’t ready for the show to be over. She chatted all the way home about the different things she’d seen, retelling bits of the stories and sharing her highlights. I would say that our #MummyandBo Adventure was a roaring success!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar makes for a wonderful introduction to theatre – especially for being such a familiar story. The show runs several times a day at The Lowry until Saturday 25th February.
*We were invited to The Lowry to watch The Very Hungry Caterpillar show free of charge for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions remain our own*