'The Lady or the Tiger' - An Absurdist Adult Fairy Story

Susan Stanley-Carrol finds it a quite ridiculous bundle of fun

Georgie Rodgers as Princess and Juan Lobo as Hero. Picture: Charles Flint

March 9, 2024

“The Lady or the Tiger” is an absurdist, adult fairy story, magically re-invented by Jeremy Paul and Michael Richmond with music by Nola York. It is a rip roaring fantasy musical drama. Catch it if you can!

It is now showing at The Theatre at the Tabard and closes on Friday 23 March. N.B. Only 12 performances remain.

Keith Strachan, one of the Tabard’s favourite directors, first directed this musical drama 15 years ago to packed houses at Richmond’s Orange Tree Theatre and when it transferred to the West End’s Fortune Theatre. The pace is superb, the actors spot on and the show is generously peppered with a flow of almost two dozen witty and jolly songs. The first night audience were easily captured as their applause was deafening.

The plot entails a ruthless tyrant (Putin in his palace)? He relentlessly murders anyone that challenges him or lusts after his daughter. A wandering minstrel, Angelo, arrives and the Princess is instantly hooked by him. The King sets a trap for Angelo now his latest victim.

The King has a purpose built Arena that was specially constructed for his hapless victims: there are two doors - one hides a ferocious tiger who will instantly devour the victim and the other door hides the most fabulous woman in the Kingdom.

The distraught Princess fortunately discovers the secret of the doors. Alas! Her beloved Angelo, a victim, could end up “inside the tiger or inside the woman”! Whatever happens the Princess will lose him. What will SHE do? What would YOU do?

The cast are superb: Georgie Rodgers plays the role of the Princess with aplomb. She nailed it perfectly. She was sheer heaven to watch and to listen to. Georgie is an ascending star.

Georgie Rodgers as Princess - 'an ascending star'. Picture: Charles Flint

Wayne Smith’s innate charisma makes him a brilliant tyrant King. His electric sparkling eyes poured forth streaks of wickedness. Yet, Wayne was called, only 8 days before the first night, to step into the roll as the replacement King. He is a magnificent tyrant (with a twinkle).

Bob Karper plays the Factotum plus many other parts. He convincingly ricocheted from roll to roll popping in and out of a range of costumes with glee and even glamour! And yet he performed his ‘day job’ as the King’s sycophantic prime minister superbly whipping the action along with oodles of bonhomie.

Bob Karper as Factotum and Wayne Smith as King. Picture: Charles Flint

Angelo, Juan Lobo, smoothly serenaded the Princess, on his guitar, winning both her heart and the hearts of the audience with a medley of memorable lyrics. As well as moments of supreme ‘norty-ness’. Wait till you see the King mistake him for a hillock!

Philip Shute, excellent as the Musical Director and pianist, and Angus Tikka on the Double Bass, accompanied the singers. They not only sang several solo songs but also became a vibrant, lusty chorus that caused the rafters of the Tabard to shake vigorously!

Alice McNicholas her costumes were, as always, spot on and added vim to this jolly show. The indefatigable Sandra Szorin is the Technical Stage Manager she achieves so much backstage and front stage that we the audience know nothing about.

Finally Keith Strachan: his direction is sharp, innovative, fast paced and this is a show for everyone. Yes, but let’s qualify that this is a show for everyone who can suspend their disbelief for a couple of hours. Also there is one interactive song “Chariot Wheels” that is totally non-embarrassing and a fun moment that united the whole studio on the first night.

“The Lady or the Tiger’ is a production that takes you out of yourself. A show that lets you forget the world’s dilemmas. A show that is sprinkled with spoonfuls of vivacity and verve. A show that intrigues and presents YOU with a conundrum that the Princess needs you to answer.

BUT - Will YOU be able to answer it?

Susan Stanley-Carroll

The show lasts for two hours with a 15 minute interval.

Tickets are £23.50 or £19.50 concessions until 9 March and then £25.50/£21.50 concessions from 12 to 23 March.

You can book all productions online on the Tabard Theatre web site or call the box office on 020 8995 6035 (leave a message if you can't get through and your call will be returned).

Theatre at the Tabard is at 2 Bath Road, Chiswick (W4 1LW).

Uh-Oh! Teletubby Prepares to Tell All at the Tabard.


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