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Theatre Review: The Hungry Caterpillar


With over 41 million copies sold worldwide, The Very Hungry Caterpillar has got to be one of the most popular children's books....EVER. I remember reading it as a child and now my toddler is obsessed with it.

The toddler was really excited about going to see this show, it was book of choice for the week leading up to us going. I'm sure the same could be said for all of the other children in the audience as there were literally chants of 'where's the caterpillar! where's the caterpillar'.

I should start by saying that the show is made up of 4 of Eric Carle's stories, I got the impression a few of the audience thought it was going to be just The Very hungry Caterpillar but the other stories are just as brilliant they are in order: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly, and lastly The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It's a great venue, small and intimate where everyone has got a good view of the stage.

The audience are encouraged to cheer and clap which is great and the not so great, in our opinion is the encouragement of photos. We had two parents the row ahead with their phones permanently out held up high taking snaps and videos. Having phones out definitely takes some of the magic of the theatre away.

Our toddler wasn't aware of the other three stories but she loved them. The Artist who Painted a Blue Horse was brilliant, the puppets are incredible (there are 75 throughout the show!) and the actors, especially The Artist had the whole audience hanging on his every word trying to guess the colour of the next animal. The story was totally captivating and our little one was the most animated we've seen her during this story compared to any show we've been to this season. She loved seeing the animals come out in 'funny colours' and has actually since been going round holding her (imaginary) paints, painting things in the house like 'the artist' so it definitely stuck with her.

Next up was Mister Seahorse, which told the story of a seahorse carrying the eggs that Mrs Seahorse has laid, he goes through his underwater journey of meeting other sea creatures who are also carrying eggs. He waits for them to hatch, when they finally did the audience cheered and lots of little baby seahorse puppets appeared.

Next was The Very Lonely Firefly which told the story of a lost firefly trying to find it's other firefly friends, his journey sees him mistake a light, candle, headlights, torch and even fireworks...for other fire flies.

The stories are told so beautifully and the puppets really are something else, they are big and bright and moved in such a a natural way. So perfect for this age group.

Finally it was time for The Very Hungry Caterpillar and as expected the crowd went crazy when the caterpillar arrived, it was hilarious how excited they all got, you'd seriously mistake the crowd for that of a One Direction concert (are they still together?). They all knew the story, some talking along with the actors and all of them joining in for the 'But he was still hungry' this had our little one in hysterics. They stuck to the story word for word which is great for the little ones to follow along, I saw a few had brought their own books to follow the story with, which was cute.

We really enjoyed it and I'd say out of all of the shows we have seen with the toddler this season it's one of the ones she has definitely enjoyed the most. It's funny to see what they take in as three days down the line the toddler is still impersonating the artist, today she was pretending to draw on the bus stop windows pretending to be The Artist. I love that she has taken that from the show.....so that will be an easel and paints added to the Christmas list!

The Hungry Caterpillar runs till the 8th of January at The Ambassadors theatre. It's the perfect show for those in-between Christmas and New Year days, where no one really knows what to do with themselves!

Parent Pointers:

-Definitely bring your own snacks. There are your standard theatre snacks but also on offer is a children's pack with Haribo and chocolate. We avoided these, it's a shame there was no healthy choice available.

-Booster seats are available so make sure you ask for one.

-You can book your buggy into the cloakroom.

-Bubbles come out at one point, which of course they all LOVED. A little pet hate of mine is having something fun that isn't accessible to all of the children. The bubble machine on the right hand side of the theatre wasn't working on this particular day so there were a few huffs and puffs about not being able to reach the bubbles and I doubt any got to the back.

-It's just under 1 hour long, the perfect running time for a children's show.

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