March 15, 2010

Tivoli Theatre Restaurant

In January I took my 3 year old and her 4 year old friend to The Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe at the Tivoli Theatre in Malvern.

Owned by showbiz couple Carole Ann and Terry Gill, the Tivoli Theatre is a bit of a Melbourne institution for seniors and children's theatre and they do four pantomime productions a year.

The 75 minute show (including interval) is a mash-up of different nursery rhymes structured in true pantomime style with the baddie being booed by the audience and the goodie triumphing with a song and dance number. But honestly for the under fives, the storyline is peripheral to the well-known songs and nursery rhymes which are scattered frequently throughout the show.

I can’t say that this is the most entertaining show I’ve ever seen, however given the lack of children’s theatre in Melbourne, I am reluctant to give it a critical review for at least they are giving it a go. Just don’t go there expecting a polished show in a modern theatre. This is traditional razzle dazzle local theatre which, if you accept for what it is, can be just as fun and entertaining as the big licenced productions. You also need to keep in mind that many of the performers are young kids from the local ballet school and given their age they do a fantastic job. They act alongside some of Melbourne's theatre veterans, such as owner Terry Gill who was fantastic as Humpty Dumpty.

I highly recommend bringing water bottles and a bag of snacks with you. The lemonade is very sweet and the fairy bread doesn’t come out until the interval. Also, snacks will entertain the kids if they get a bit distracted during the show. The audience are seated at long tables so the kids need to stay in their seats but food and drink are allowed. I’d also recommend leaving children under two at home if you can as prams won’t fit in the theatre and the tight seating would get uncomfortable with a wriggler. I have a good arrangement with a friend where one of us takes the older kids to the show and one of us stays at home with the younger ones – much easier.

We have just booked for the Tivoli's next production, Red Riding Hood, which runs from the 29th of March until the 9th of April. Tickets are $17 which includes the show , lemonade and fairy bread. For bookings, visit Tivoli Theatre or call (03) 9509 9066.

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