Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
My 5-year-old son is now a confirmed theatre lover thanks to The Hawth in Crawley and so was very excited to hear that we were going to see The Hare & Tortoise there at the weekend. The Hawth itself is easy to get to and has plenty of free parking right outside, a well-stocked café, and easy access for the disabled so is one of our favourite theatres.
The show was held in the studio, a small intimate theatre, so after grabbing our free booster seat we took our seats near the back, it’s a brilliant space for this sort of production as the children can get really close. The studio was filled with 3-8 year olds and you could literally feel the excitement bubbling as it filled with small children and their families.
The Hare & Tortoise is a small production of just two actors from The Pied Piper Theatre Company and follows the traditional story of Aesop’s fable about opposites and friendship. Pied Piper specialises in producing quality theatre for young children and we have been to see their plays several times before with great success.
The production is delightful as it goes through a whole year of Hare & Tortoise’s friendship. Starting with the end of winter and the tortoise coming out of hibernation the Hare, having waited all winter, can’t wait to race. Tortoise, being tortoise wants to take things slowly and spring turns to summer which turns to autumn before the race begins. In the meantime, the scenery is changed beautifully with spring buds, summer flowers, autumnal leaves and winter snow bringing the seasons alive.
The friends finally get to race, and as the original story where being fastest doesn’t necessarily mean getting there first, tortoise beats hare slowly to the finish line. Interspersed with fun songs and beautiful butterflies flying into the audience the children were kept captivated the whole time.
The performance lasted around 55 minutes without an interval and although my son was sad when it finished it was probably around the right length for a younger audience. It was certainly an hour well spent and it was a joy to see so many happy faces.
The Hare & Tortoise is a must see for any child aged 3 and above. It’s fun, captivating and musical and with an excellent moral story which will delight any young child.
The Hare & Tortoise is currently on tour around the UK, for more information and tour dates visit www.piedpipertheatre.co.uk.
For other shows at The Hawth in Crawley visit hawth.co.uk or call the box office on 01293 553636.
The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, Sussex, RH10 6YZ | 01293 553636