Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Songs and stories from Tinga Tinga Land

A colourful scene from How Lion Became the King of Tinga Tinga Land
at Cambridge's Corn Exchange - more dates till 19 November
Jambo! I got four review tickets for HOW LION BECAME KING OF TINGA TINGA LAND at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge and took a friend and her little daughter along. Our little group consisted of two mums and two little girls, aged four and five - both at primary school.

HOW LION BECAME KING OF TINGA TINGA LAND is an interactive, high-energy, musical adventure for children aged three till 11.  The story revolves around a competition set in the Africa Plain of Tinga Tinga Land to decide which animal will be King. The audience is given a warm, African welcome with a beautiful song and are then involved during the show in the competition among the animals. Cheeky Monkey, Kindly Hippo, Wise Bird, Groovy Zebra, and Proud Lion compete in singing, dancing and storytelling, to prove they are worthy to become the King or Queen. Two drummers at the side of the stage add drama and an atmospheric beat to the proceedings. Although inspired by the Cbeebies/Tiger Aspect TV show Tinga Tinga Tales, this is an original performance show.

Five performers in costumes - one holding a toucan puppet - a visitor from a far-away Rainforest, tell their story while involving the audience with well-known nursery rhymes such as The Grand Old Duke of York, Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed and other favourite tunes that reminded me of the children's TV Show Fun Song Factory. An ecological message is woven into the story and it does make you root for the animals!

Looking around the audience, I saw adults getting into the spirit by singing along, a few dancing toddlers and children doing the action moves while singing at the top of their voices. A few younger children - siblings accompanying older children - were scared by the lion's roar. My friend's daughter was transfixed by the music, colourful costumes and dancing while my daughter Michela, a bit jaded for her five years, complained it was a bit too long during the break. She did join in in the singing and did all the action moves standing up and then sneaking on the steps by our tiered seats for some energetic jumping - she did have a fun time after all.

Michela particularly liked the rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with the dappled light effect and the variation on the Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes rhyme - the added words bum and tum made her day.

So if your children like action nursery rhymes and wild animals, this is a good half-term activity to pencil in your diary - or an exotic alternative to a Xmas pantomime as the tour still runs in November.

Happy Halloween!

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