When my children and I were offered the opportunity to visit London’s West End recently to watch the highly anticipated stage adaption of award-winning and much-loved children’s books: Oi Frog, Oi Cat and Oi Dog combined into one rip-roaring show ‘Oi Frog and Friends’ we practically leapt at the chance. (Ribbit!) Being familiar with the picture book series off we hopped one Saturday morning in expectation where we were certainly not disappointed; the fast-paced matinee performance kept my too-cool-for-school eight year old and energetic three year old captivated throughout.
With a colourful set and catchy songs we weren’t the only ones, the show offered plenty of audience participation, prompts from the cast to complete the rhymes of which animal should sit where went down a treat, for much of the show the audience were shouting in unison; of course: The Pony must sit on Macaroni….The Alpaca must sit on a Cracker… you couldn’t help but feel sorry for the Whales who had to sit on Nails….however, despite the Dogs protestations that the animals might not like it the Frog powers on: ‘They don’t have to like it, Rules are Rules!’, besides not everyone loses, some lucky old Armadillos got to sit on nice, soft, comfy pillows….
The series of books are creatively bought to life by individual acts; an Elephant which was (obviously) commanded to sit on a Smelly Skunk by the increasingly power-crazed Frog broke free and sprayed from his trunk over the gleeful audience – a nod to the movie ‘Scarface’ will have gone over little heads but garnered an appreciative laugh from the older members of the audience. A particular highlight for us was the the vibrant and flamboyant Cheetahs sitting on Fajitas extravaganza which had pint-sized audience members shaking their little derrieres and arms in time and culminated in giant beach balls being bounced around the audience – a clear winner in any primary aged kids book.
The cast were enthusiastic and entirely unpatronising, a balance which in my experience is hard to strike in children’s theatre. On the train journey home I requested three words from my kids to describe the show. ‘Fascinating, funny and disgusting!’ offered the eight year old. ‘Bottoms!’ offered the three year old. So that’s a definite thumbs up from us, all round rolicking good fun!
This review was written by Samantha Hicks, a mum of two based in Surrey.
Oi Frog and Friends is showing at the Lyric Theatre until 5 January. See all shows and times in our What’s On listings.