Review | Family Fun in The Park, Oaklands Park, Chichester: ‘Quality children’s entertainment’

It’s been raining all morning – not a downpour, but that steady drizzle we do so well in Britain.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 5:04 pm
Watching Never Tickle a Tiger at Family Fun in The Park by Chichester Festival Theatre. Picture: Chris Broom
Watching Never Tickle a Tiger at Family Fun in The Park by Chichester Festival Theatre. Picture: Chris Broom

And as we arrive in Chichester for the Family Fun in The Park show, it is still drizzling – so instead of the planned picnic, it’s lunch in the car.

Mercifully though, the rain stops minutes before the show starts.

Last summer the weather gods were kinder, and Chichester Festival Theatre’s outdoor shows were blessed with much better weather.

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And as such, the audience numbers have been affected.

But those who did turn up got to enjoy some quality children’s entertainment.

Most families will be familiar with the distinctive style of writer/illustrator Lauren Child. Her books have sold in their millions and the TV adaptations of her Charlie and Lola series have been CBeebies’ mainstays for years.

The main event here is an adaptation of another of Child’s beloved creations – That Pesky Rat.

CBBC star Emily Burnett narrates while a troupe of talented puppeteers bring the tale of a nameless rat who yearns to find an owner – and a name.

The puppets’ appearances mimic Child’s drawings and anyone familiar with the book will delight in seeing the pages brought to life with simple but clever staging.

The book is a favourite in our home, and our boys laughed to see rat meet all his friends on stage.

This is followed by an adaptation of Pamela Butchart’s Never Tickle a Tiger.

Read again by Burnett, this one is without puppets, but relies on some nifty physical work from the four performers instead – and some high-speed headwear changes…

Burnett delivers both readings with aplomb – having fun with all the different characters’ voices.

Praise is due too for the trio of musicians providing the musical backing.

The show finishes with some audience participation as Alice O’Hanlon teaches us a dance routine in child and two-left-feet-owning parent-friendly chunks, before a final run-through which descends into joyful chaos on our little socially-distanced plot.The show is back tomorrow afternoon, and with a much better weather forecast, it will be the perfect way to enjoy a Saturday afternoon at the end of half-term.

And with tickets working out at £5 a head, it’s ideal for those on a budget.Go to cft.org.uk