This wonderful show based on a family favourite picture book by Emily Gravett is the perfect way to spend an afternoon with all the family.

We meet Bunny, Fox and Pete the Badger in a beautiful autumnal forest. Pete the Badger spends his days tidying the forest; vacuuming up leaves and pruning bushes. Having a tidy home is very important to Pete, especially since he was the winner of ‘The Tidiest Forest 2023’ and he has his sights on the 2024 award too! But Pete takes things a little too far and in a bid to make things neat and tidy he does something drastic which changes the forest and upsets his friends.

This small cast of three does a wonderful job of telling this story. Clare Pointing is delightfully bouncy and fun as Bunny, she brings an inquisitive charm to the role. Jack Benjamin is a wonderful calming influence in the piece, performing while often playing guitar he gives us the underscore for the show playing the original songs that have been crafted, and does so wonderfully. Robert Penny is Pete the Badger and uses fantastic physical skills to bring this character to life.

Using beautifully crafted puppets designed by Rachael Canning there are several forms of storytelling used in the piece. In particular the larger badger puppet has children enamoured in the audience. He moves with a slow, calm pace and is believable as a character in the show.

The entire design of the show is perfectly rustic, you could believe you were in the middle of a forest amongst the autumn leaves. Small details such as umbrellas decorated with leaves are a simple yet effective choice to bring the setting to life. The costumes look like they could be out of a picture book themselves, with bold designs that catch the eyes and attention of the audience.

The message of this show is portrayed clearly, that maybe we need a little chaos and beauty in the world and everything cannot be perfect without paying a price. I think this is shown perfectly and stands as a good learning moment for children but also a wonderful reminder for their parents too.

Running at 45 mins (approx) this feels like the perfect length which means little ones won’t get bored or restless and will stay captivated the entire time. It’s a beautiful, warm and cosy family show which is well worth seeing.

This show was reviewed on the 17th February 2024 and runs at the Polka Theatre, London until the 24th March2024.  Tickets available here: Polka Tidy (polkatheatre.com)

Review written by Rosie Browne


Photo credit: Steve Gregson

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