Brighton Fringe 2017
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show is a critically acclaimed theatre production created by Jonathan Rockefeller featuring 75 colourful puppets and adapting four of Eric Carle’s books: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and of course The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
On a sunny Friday I join toddlers and parents at the Warren near St. Peter’s Church in Brighton to see an adaptation of some of Eric Carle’s literary children’s classics in The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show.
The performance which is a mind-boggling explosion of colours and includes 75 carefully hand-crafted puppets which wiggle, waddle, fly and jump their way through the stage by means of excelling puppetry is a must-see for young and old audience members alike.
The children get to know the blue sea horse, the pink fox and the brown bear as well as numerous other wonderful creatures which make my son stand up on my lap with delight. The colour explosion continues when a magical underwater world unfolds before our eyes in which the sparkling sea horses set their young ones out ashore and where the blowfish and a swarm of shiny mackerels dive into the turquoise sea. The audience is then flown back to the sky where we meet the lonely firefly but while he flies around alone with his light we are quickly put at emotional ease when he rejoices in a glorious reunion with all his glowing mates.
The staging of the show makes good use of the mise-en-scene and we are taken by surprise by how the colourful donkey’s tail exits and enters the set. The acting skills of the performers engage the young audience thoroughly and encourage them to take part in the cheering and the clapping whilst joining in the infant chorus that the little caterpillar is still very hungry after it has eaten its way through several different treats.
Finishing the performance after 60 minutes with the well-loved story of the Hungry Caterpillar who turns into the beautiful butterfly nicely concludes a well directed and highly enjoyable children’s show. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show gave life to my son’s all time favourite children’s story and was an excellently performed and staged piece of work. It would only benefit from the performers being more aware that unfortunately some scenes were difficult for some audience members to see due to sight restrictions by performing to low on the ground.
Leaving the auditorium and looking at many happy faces, I feel that I could have not wished for a better show to start the weekend with my nearly two year old son. It was upbeat, educational, imaginative and full of marvellous creatures who I hope to meet again in my dreams.