Review: The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Ambassadors Theatre)

Eric Carle’s heart-warming kids book is turned into a stage show which runs in the West End over Christmas

First published as a hugely successful book in 1969, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who isn't familiar with Eric Carle's heart-warming (and dare I say educational) story of a hungry caterpillar. So bringing his classic story to life requires some serious imagination. Luckily this production has it in spades.

Presented as four of Carle's stories; The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, audiences are treated to a menagerie of over 70 fabulous puppets who faithfully transport the stories from page to stage.

From a huge black bear to a glittery seahorse and his aquatic mates, we are drawn in as four skilled cast members use clever puppetry skills and voice work to theatricalise the animals. A particular favourite was a pink rabbit which happily hopped around the stage and into the arms of one actor for a nose rub.

A captivating firefly in search of his friends calms the mood but any restlessness from young ones soon disappears when the star of the show emerges, the ravenous caterpillar. His wonderful metamorphosis into a butterfly is a lovely moment and a magical way to close the show.

Running at a brisk 55 minutes, the show tackles Carle's stories with ingenuity and wit and easily has something to offer for audiences of all ages. This innovative adaptation makes for an enchanting experience that won't leave you hungry for more.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar runs at the Ambassadors Theatre until 7 January.

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