Edinburgh Fringe 2023
Judith Kerr’s Mog the Forgetful Cat, adapted for the stage by The Wardrobe Ensemble. A Wardrobe Ensemble, Old Vic, and Royal & Derngate Northampton co-production. Mog is a very forgetful cat. She forgets that she has a cat flap, she forgets that she’s already eaten her supper, and she forgets that cats don’t have eggs for breakfast every day. Bother that cat! But Mog’s forgetfulness can come in handy…
A excellent family show to start a day at the Fringe. The Wardrobe Ensemble working with the Royal & Derngate in Northampton and the Old Vic have created a lively, pacey and engaging adaptation of the much-loved children’s favourite: Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr (HarperCollins).
My first action on arriving at the McKewan theatre was to recruit some young reviewers, after all, it is they for whom this show is made. I had help from Max (4), Ivy (7) and their mum, Anna; as well as Woody (8), Clemmie (10) and Scarlett (6).
It is a big stage but the set portraying the Thomas family and Mog’s home provided a backdrop to the show, the flexible sections and different levels adding other perspectives.
The cast of Tom England, Kerry Lovell, Jesse Meadows, Ben Vardy, Maria Goodman and Max Gallagher (who also provides the music), never flag as they play family members, other cats, other animals and the V.E.T (never to be said as Mog knows full well what that might mean). The seventh member of the cast, Georgina Goodchild plays Mog and does it to perfection. Her range of miaows and her expressive eyes had us all almost believing she really is a cat!
The story expands the original book to take us through a year in the life of Mog with both dramatic and some rather everyday events. Max’s favourite moment ([spoiler alert] was when ‘Mog wee’d on the chair’; Ivy thought the whole show ‘very good’, her favourite moment was when Mog found the burglar and alerted the family. The burglar (Max Gallagher) was a favourite with Woody as he definitely had the proper burglar look about him as he crept up to the house.
The music was a hit with both Anna and Clemmie, who said she loved all of the songs but that her favourite was ‘Bother That Cat!’ – probably mine too as we all got to join in.
It is a first class introduction to theatre for children, the pace never flags, there is always something happening, something to look at, just the right amount of repetition to help the story along and plenty of laughter and joining in. The talented cast held the audience’s attention throughout, there was surprisingly little noise or fidgeting which considering the number of very young children was remarkable.
My final reviewer, Scarlett, just smiled a very big smile and said, very quietly, that she loved it all.