Soph is a storyteller, sharing tales from Aesop’s Fables to a virtual audience of school groups on Zoom. Fables at the Kitchen Table is the latest show from Stute Theatre, aimed at children aged 3-7, and it is tremendous fun.
I’ve seen (and heard) Sophia Hatfield’s work a couple of times now, including her You Don’t Know Me, But… over the telephone, and a work in progress of her Bronte musical I Am No Bird (written with Lisa Cagnacci).
In developing Stute’s work across various genres, this company – based in Stoke-on-Trent – is definitely creating work which is a joy to watch. This show is directed by Sarah Richardson and performed solo by Hatfield, designed by Rachel Shore.
This show, on the performance I saw as part of the Tameside Libraries Ready Steady Read Festival, ticks all the boxes. There is music, lively characters, interactivity (what did the hare and the tortoise learn? should the ant share his food?), a delivery which is perfectly judged for the audience, and a lot of action.
Fables at the Kitchen Tables reminded me of the TV programmes of my childhood, and the parade of presenters who knew just how to engage with young audiences by making them feel included, and never patronised.
Like all children’s theatre of value, Fables is educational and message based, but without being heavy-handed. A light touch and a dose of laughter.
You don’t need to know the original Fables to appreciate the messages “slow and steady wins the race”, “gently does it”, or the importance of thinking of others.
There are songs and chants to join in, and the use of inanimate objects to conjure up a character is very effective. For your little ones to enjoy whether at home or with their friends, Stute’s Fables is a show I would definitely suggest you seek out.
Fables at the Kitchen Table is currently on a virtual tour – for details of dates of both school and public performances go to Stute Theatre’s website.