REVIEW: The Very Hungry Caterpillar @ The Majestic Theatre, Darlington
Posted on June 15th 2017 by Whats on Northeast
Words: Andrew Bramfitt
Photos: Becca Bramfitt
Since 1969 when it was first published, Eric Carle’s ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ has enthralled children of each and every generation. The illustrations and style have become almost synonymous for educational and entertaining children’s books, setting out a blueprint for others to follow. Now his creations have been brought to life on stage by Jonathan Rockefeller and, given the reaction from one particularly young theatre goer, this is a smash hit.
The show actually covers four of Care’s stories, each engagingly told through the use of some amazing puppets, very vivid lighting and lots and lots of movement. My granddaughter, who only recently turned one, sat riveted for most of the show, loving the non-stop action. In fact, she only got restless when one of her favourite characters left the stage, standing on mum’s lap to shout for the sea horse to come back.
The show contained some very clever ideas around painting pictures which then come to life, emerging on stage as full-size puppets which just added to the magic of the show and ensured it kept tiny, and slightly bigger minds, watching and guessing what might happen next.
Of course, the star of the show is the caterpillar, and the eponymous final story is a finale to send all the audience, young and old, on their way home feeling very well entertained. There were many comments from parents and guardians afterwards who were surprised by just how engaging it was for the adults as well as the children. I guess we have all read, listened to (or in some cases been) ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ in our lives.
The Majestic Theatre in Darlington is the perfect venue for this very colourful and visually engaging show. It is intimate, relaxed and ideal to cater for children who might otherwise feel a little intimidated by a more austere theatre. That sense of relaxation spread to the parents too and, as such, everyone was able to sit back, kick back and wallow in good old-fashioned story telling brought right up to date.