Scamp Theatre presents an hour-long feast of storytelling that thrills children and parents alike. The show is based around the work of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, who famously brought us the Gruffalo, and features three charming performers and storytellers – Joseph Carey, Mathew Hamper and Maxwell James – who sing, play instruments, perform some amazing puppetry and generally leap about the stage.
With the use of colourful costumes and props, Carey, Hamper and James brought three funny and clever stories to life, and return to an overarching tale of a monkey who has lost his mother at intervals, unifying the whole show. The props and costumes were excellent and many had a home-made feel which of course appeals to children. The innovative use of these props and costumes must also be applauded – such as the use of raincoats as a screen on which silhouettes of swimming fish are projected.
An hour is a very long time to keep young children engaged, but the pace of the show and the excellent use of music and a variety of props had children as young as two and three utterly transfixed. Carey, Hamper and James were all perfectly coordinated with one another, with one providing the voice for various puppet animals while another performs the actions. These men have a rare talent. They were charming and engaging without being at all patronising and were on a level with the children in the audience that made the children trust them.
Although the show has been adapted from Julia Donaldson's popular children's stories, there is no need for children to be familiar with the original tales because Scamp Theatre have done something entirely new with them. There are even moments that parents will enjoy, with nudges and winks from the performers on a par with any work by Pixar; this is truly a family show.
Tiddler is definitely one of the most charming children's shows at the Fringe this year. With the perfect balance of fun and education, this show is a masterpiece.