It’s a rare show that can successfully entertain children of all ages. ‘Tony and Mike’ is one of these sought-after gems. A very pleasant afternoon can be had visiting the garden of a crooked little house on a hill.
A very pleasant afternoon can be had visiting the garden of a crooked little house on a hill.
When Joe and Charlotte move to the countryside from the busy city, a particularly hyperactive squirrel named Mike hitches a ride with them. Already present in the countryside is Tony the Owl, who is extremely irritated by this loud interruption to his sleeping patterns and way of life. ‘Tony and Mike’ take a simple story and never let it get out of hand, so that even the youngest audience member knows what’s going on. Older children are kept engaged by encouragement to interact and help out Joe and Charlotte as they adapt to their new lives in the countryside.
Tom Frankland and Laura Mugridge show off their versatility in the effortless switches between their human and puppet characters. Equally versatile and impressive was the quality of the tech, with lighting and sound combining well with a beautiful looking set. The puppets themselves were well-made and friendly-looking. Mike’s many ‘costume changes’ and props added some welcome variety to proceedings, as did his frantic dashes through the audience. It’s a pity that Tony was never brought to interact with the children on the same level. Also slightly odd was an unexpected dance number that cropped up in the middle of the play and at the bows with little explanation.
This aside, ‘Tony and Mike’ is highly recommended to those who perhaps have children of multiple ages and are unsure as to what might be suitable for them all.