Judith Kerr’s beloved children’s book is brought to life with vivid colour and warmth for all the family in this stunning stage production.
In a co-production with the Old Vic London and the Royal & Derngate, Northampton, Judith Kerr’s Mog the Forgetful Cat is a one hour compilation of her best stories following the dosey feline. The book is now celebrating the 50th anniversary of its publication.
The three stories presented by theatre company the Wardrobe Ensemble and directed by Helena Middleton & Jesse Jones are swiftly told in an hour and there is plenty to enjoy. The adaption stages the original story of ‘Mog the Forgetful Cat’ plus ‘Mog and the Vee Ee Tee’ and ‘Mog’s Bad Thing’. They link the stories by using the seasons' summer, autumn and winter as transitions. It works really well and my daughter particularly enjoyed the story when Mog went to the vet (or V-E-T as sung). Amongst the stories, Joey Hickman has composed some toe-tapping songs, some that require audience participation. There are a few moments when the audience are asked to give help to the cast and the children absolutely loved it!
The show is part sung all the way through and is full of joy and heartwarming moments. Georgina Goodchild is surprisingly believable as a forgetful Mog and has embodied the character and animal beautifully. Mog is staged as a frustrating family pet but Georgina captures Mog as the cat with a lovable nature and curiosity that Judith Kerr originally wrote her as. The cast multirole and multitask frantically with characters, puppets and bright props to the point it becomes comedy for the adults in the room. It is so much fun to watch children respond to the show.
The primary coloured set had the audience excited and the stories were brought to life by costume designer Laura McEwen. A top moment was the half owner half pet costumes during Mogs trip to the vet. Mog doesn’t look exactly like the illustration in the novel but her layered fringe and white paws make her a fine feline.
I took my one-year-old and she really enjoyed it despite sitting under the recommended age. I think the colors and the music sustained her attention. The Old Vic have made the experience really accessible with a buggy park and by allowing babies on laps.
Mog has been on tour and will be heading up to Edinburgh in August if you can catch it. It’s a great first trip to the theatre, there isn’t a dull moment in this show!
Review: Nicole Botha