A traumatised zookeeper tells the tale of her misadventures with her co-workers and an escaped Tiger who is now their captor… and director.
Superbly acted, the character comes to life with Kemsely’s perfect balance of slight mania, fear and naivety.
This wickedly funny show written by Stewart Pringle and directed by David Mercatali follows the story of a young zookeeper with more than a touch of Stockholm syndrome. After escaping from the zoo, a Chinese tiger has decided it wants to put on a piece of theatre.
Harriet Kemsely’s performance as the Zookeeper takes us on a journey of side splitting laughs with horrendously cruel jokes and an innocence that adds to the humour. Superbly acted, the character comes to life with Kemsely’s perfect balance of slight mania, fear and naivety. Kemsley also takes care of the younger members of the audience and draws the willing ones in to be a small but important part of the story. Only brave children should join in!
John Henry Falle as Kemsely’s sidekick has the smaller role by far, but absolute gold-dust to work with script-wise and delivers each jab with perfection. Every addition he makes to the show has the darker-minded audience members cackling with glee. His defeated acquiescenceacts to balance the seemingly naïve positivity of Kemsely character giving us a wonderfully rounded but disturbed duo.
A mention must be made of the voice of Tom Richards who plays Aloysius the Tiger. He gives not only a professional but enthralling account as the beastly villain of the play. So convincing his roars are to the younger members of the audience that they occasionally jump out of their seats.
The sound and lighting design are expertly timed to add yet more laughs to the storytelling of Kemsely and bring the older members of the audience under the spell along with the children.
The script could benefit from some slight tweaks and if any criticism might be made about the show it would be that it feels rather more like an adults show that you can take children along to rather than a children’s show in itself. Its warning that it is a show for ‘brave families and children only’ is apt.