Hare and Tortoise (4 stars)

Hare and Tortoise

A noisy audience at a children’s show can mean one of two things: the kids are so bored they’re chatting among themselves, or they’re so involved they just can’t keep a lid on it. Happily for Licketyspit theatre company, the latter was true at the performance I saw.

Adapted from Aesop’s well-loved fable, Hare and Tortoise is a hugely likeable show that manages to turn a 60-second story into a 60-minute event. The tale itself remains largely untouched – hare is an over-confident speedball, tortoise a methodical plodder, and they’re both determined to win the race.

But writers Virginia Radcliffe and Deborah Arnott have also added a human element to these formerly two-dimensional characters. Both have hopes and desires, good and bad sides to their nature, leading to a happy twist at the end. Previously performed by Radcliffe and Arnott themselves, the roles have been taken over by Paul Chaal and Tas Emiabata, who do a fine job of switching between characters.

Most enjoyable of all are larger-than-life bakers, the Bun Brothers. During one of many moments of fun participation, they recruit the entire audience to help bake a cake. From dreaming up our favourite ingredients, to whisking our bowl and throwing the contents on stage, we’re encouraged to use our imaginations.

A smattering of songs, silly costumes and an innovative set all conspire to make this tale of one-upmanship, greed but, ultimately, friendship enjoyable for all.

The Old Sheriff Court, Glasgow, Sat 26 Sep; Macrobert, Stirling, Sun 27 Sep

Hare and Tortoise

Aesop's tale of the race is given a new and exciting treatment by Licketyspit, with bun baking, rapid rivers and frightening forests along the way. Developed for 3–7 year olds, this show will nevertheless appeal to all children under 12 and their families, and there is ample opportunity for audience participation, too.


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