When I took my kids (aged five and seven) to see the Tivoli Theatre's latest production, Hansel and Gretel, the first thing they screamed was, 'Buttons'!
Buttons was the butler in Tivoli's recent staging of Cinderella, and has gained outstanding fame in my household, joining the ranks of Chase from Paw Patrol, and coming a close second to Luke Skywalker.
Buttons aka Jack (of the beanstalk fame) aka Pinnochio aka Puss in Boots and many a Prince Charming is, in the real world, Clinton Barker, the new artistic director of Tivoli Theatre. Continuing the Tivoli legacy, which began almost 40 years ago, Clinton is steering the company towards a new era of children's theatre.
In true pantomime style, kids are invited to be part of the performance, whether it's helping princesses to cast spells or warning heroes when bad witches loom near.
With an intimate setting of perhaps 10 tables or so, Tivoli enables kids to immerse themselves in a little world of magic and adventure. Of course, the scrumptious fairy bread at intermission helps too!
Fair bread at intermission
Fairy tales for the whole family
If you're a parent and cringe at the thought of reading another predictable fairy tale, or in this case, watching it, you'll be pleased to know that Tivoli's modern takes make it slightly more bearable.
Hansel's father, for example, uses Tinder to meet a fairy queen, and instead of breadcrumbs, a pair of Ray-Bans make an appearance as the modus operandi.
Tivoli is perfect for the youngest theatre-goer as the giants, witches and other baddies are funny enough not to scare. That said, kudos go to Hansel's witch for demonstrating one of the most evil cackles I've heard in years.
Value for money. Easy to get to. Kid-friendly. Tivoli Theatre checks all the boxes and should be in every parent's school holiday bag of tricks. Beware, however. With catchy tunes like Doe a Deer and Sing, Sing a Song on the menu, you might be humming golden oldies throughout your day.