When a five year old rates something as 99 out of 10, you know it's probably gone down well.
The young audience at Theatre Royal Winchester giggled their way through The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, which featured four stories by Eric Carle.
After runs in the West End and New York, the iconic children's literature character wiggled on stage in Winchester and chomped his way through an enormous feast, much to the amusement of those watching.
The enthusiastic and energetic cast delighted the audience with an array of colourful puppets which danced across the stage in an enchanting and magical performance portraying Carle's best loved books: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and, of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
The simple stories, that have captivated generations of readers, have been adapted perfectly for the stage by director Jonathan Rockefeller, and children sat mesmerised as animals and sea life sprang into life before their eyes, expertly controlled by four puppeteers, including Andrew Cullimore who was in the UK tour of Charlie and Lola.
There were cheers of delight as bubbles were pumped out into the audience - something appreciated by my five-month-old baby as well as the older children - and there was constant audience participation as everyone tried to guess which colour would come next in The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse or shouted 'but he was still hungry' as the bouncy caterpillar popped his head through yet another item of food.
The 60 minute show features an impressive 75 puppets on sticks, accompanied by a basic but effective set. Bursting with vibrant colours, the puppets were remarkably faithful in likeness to the original hand-painted collage illustrations, and children's eyes were solely focused on the brightly coloured creatures as they wiggled, shook, twirled, bounced and darted across the stage, capturing the young audience's attention and imagination for the duration.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar was the final story to be told, and the one we had all been waiting for. Since its release in 1969 it has been translated into 62 languages and sold over 43 million copies worldwide, remaining one of the top 10 bestselling children’s books of all time. So although we all knew the ending, it was still breath-taking when an enormous, beautiful butterfly floated onto the stage, flapping its dazzling wings.
Sixty minutes flew by, and was the perfect amount of time to keep the full attention of the audience, who were enthralled, engaged, fascinated and thoroughly entertained by the charming and beautiful performance.
There was a big thumbs up from the five year old with me, and both babies in my group also enjoyed the experience, transfixed by the music and colours.
The Hungry Caterpillar Show will be coming to Basingstoke next month when it appears at The Haymarket Theatre on May 30.
For more information visit HungryCaterpillarShow.com or anvilarts.org.uk.