Judith Kerr’s celebrated Mog stories hold a rightful place in the hearts of so many families.
Happily then, that, newly adapted by The Wardrobe Ensemble, they are in excellent hands.
In a co-production with the Bristol Old Vic, where he is currently enjoying a mid-term run, and the Royal & Derngate, Northampton, J.Mog the forgetful cat by udith Kerr in fact, it brings several of Kerr’s classic adventures to life in an enchanting hour-long show perfectly geared for young children.
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Mog and the VET and Bad Mog they’re also carried from page to page, woven into an overarching narrative arc of a year in the life of Thomas’s cat.
Thomas’s house and garden form the basis of the ensemble, which has a decidedly geometric flavour, all the circles, triangles, squares and rectangles overlapping.
It’s pleasantly nostalgic for the time when these books were written, and for many of the adults watching, the slight glow of pink that one tends to equate with childhood.
Though true to Kerr’s narratives, the humor, color, and life with which the ensemble makes its mark is impressive and appeals to all, without ever patronizing.
The music is cleverly incorporated into the action, and there’s plenty of space allocated for catchy songs and dance numbers, as well as a fair amount of audience interaction along the way.
It’s a very solid ensemble piece, though most of the laughs undoubtedly go to Ben Vardy as Mr. Thomas, singing in deference to his favorite chair.
Hanora Kamen also deserves a special mention for meowing, stretching, and nimbly leaping through the hour with feline aplomb.
It’s warm, charming, inclusive, and low-stakes: a show that makes even the smallest audience members feel safe and secure, as all good children’s stories should.
Judith Kerr’s Mog The Forgetfu Cat is at the Bristol Old Vic until 18 February at 10:30am and 1:30pm. Tickets are available at www.bristololdvic.org.uk.
All photos: Manuel Harlan
Read more: Review: Robin Hood: Legend of the Forgotten Forest, Bristol Old Vic
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