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Mog - The Forgetful Cat

Mog - The Forgetful Cat

Based on the bestselling Mog picture book series by Judith Kerr, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, Mog the Forgetful Cat has been adapted for the stage by The Wardrobe Ensemble.

Join Mog and the Thomas family, on a journey through one year in the life of a really remarkable cat, as she catches a burglar, gatecrashes a cat show, goes to the V.E.T. and gets to eat lots and lots of eggs. Everyone’s favourite cat might be forgetful, but she certainly has a lot of adventures, and she loves her family very much. 

The Wardrobe Ensemble adapt Judith Kerr’s beloved and iconic stories for the stage, in a lively and enchanting production with songs, live music and a menagerie of creatures little and large. These timeless tales of family and friendship are brought to life to allow a new generation of children to fall in love with Mog.

Watch our interview with Jesse Meadows, part of The Wardrobe Ensemble, discussing the production of Mog - The Forgetful Cat.

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Mog - The Forgetful Cat ON TOUR

Our review on Mog - The Forgetful Cat

Mog - The Forgetful Cat - The Lowry, Salford - Tuesday 4th April 2023 by Karen Ryder

Our Rating

I have to confess that I am not a cat person, but this just goes to show how gorgeous Judith Kerr’s Mog The Cat books are because they hold a special place in my heart and if feels like Mog has become an extended part of our own family.  So, the thought of seeing these children’s books brought to life on stage felt like a great way to start to my Tuesday.  Armed with coffee and my 6 year old companion, we entered the theatre to find it already full of life, warmth, and energy.  At first we thought perhaps the show had started, but actually it transpired that The Wardrobe Ensemble, who are behind this production, just know exactly what they are doing, and so bring actors out to engage with the children in the audience before the show has officially started, keeping them fully occupied.  It is so simple but so clever and built up an immediate rapport.  We walked in to hear all about the different pets the children in the audience had back home and my guest immediately joined in, proud to tell everyone about her dog Marnie!

Mog The Forgetful Cat
explores a few of Kerr’s books and amalgamates them together to create a kind of ‘year in the life of Mog’.  As we are introduced to Mog and the Thomas family, we discover that Mog is very forgetful.  She forgets where her cat flap is, that she has already eaten, and that Nicky’s boiled eggs are not for cats!  Her antics cause a little inconvenience at home and as her humans become frustrated, they break into the song ‘Bother That Cat!’  The audience are encouraged to join in, and soon enough we are all purring along, including accompanying paw actions!  But Mogs forgetfulness comes into fruition when she can’t remember how to get back in the house and so screeches at the kitchen window, foiling a burglar in the process! 

As the seasons change and Mog is able to play out in the garden, she gets a thorn stuck in her paw, which means a visit to the dreaded V.E.T (we can’t say the actual word as Mog will bolt out of the door!)  The car journey there is an interesting one, and upon arrival we meet plenty of other pets who bring the V.E.T.S to life in loud and colourful ways.  As Mog causes chaos, the poor V.E.T pays the price with his finger, but all ends well.  As the sun goes up, and goes back down a few more times to distinguish the passing seasons, Mog finds herself in a strange new place.  Her garden, once so familiar, has become lost to a giant sea of white flappy things (which us humans recognise as a tent blowing in the wind).  She can’t find anything!  And this would be hard enough for any cat, but for Mog who is already forgetful, it is a bad situation.  She can’t even find her toilet and so in desperation, ends up relieving herself on Mr. Thomas’ favourite chair.  Oh, he is not happy, and so Mog hides in the attic, missing the whole cat show that the tent is housing.  Eventually driven out of the attic by boredom, she makes quite the entrance, and everyone forgives Mog once more.

The Wardrobe Ensemble have done a purrfect job at bringing these children’s classics to life, creating a theatre of imagination, colour, and contentment.  Nightmares and dreams are brought to life by clever use of simple materials and props, creating a large and looming tiger within seconds, and turning Mog into a butterfly with large moving wings the next!  Crocodiles, pandas and bears echo through the subconscious of the V.E.T and this is all played out on the perfect storybook set.  The house opens up and has a moving cat flap to create a dolls house vibe.  Flowers, umbrellas that allow leaves to fall out of them, sprinkles of snow thrown into the air, and rainbows depict the changing of the seasons with a swift visual ease that needs no fuss but keeps its young audience on track.  Additional items are brought on as and when they are needed, such as Mr. Thomas’ favourite chair, a table, or a cat basket, but they are whisked on and off with such fluidity that they are merely a part of the action and ensure that no one is kept waiting.  The Thomas home is designed as a wonderful adventure playground for any cat, complete with a ladder that allows Mog to explore multiple levels and act out scenes from high above the other actors.  Designer Laura McEwen is a great advocate for staying faithful to a book with her page to stage look, and each carefully designed element allowed the children to feel like this was their world.  Everything felt familiar and they were able to live inside their favourite book!  The costumes followed suit too, with some remarkable ways of supporting the multi role nature of this cast, allowing them to play both pets and their owners simultaneously.   

This combined team of cast and creatives are what it truly means to be an ensemble.  Tom England welcomes us all from the off by engaging in chitter chatter, and showing a genuine interest in the people that have come to watch the performance.  He sets the relaxed tone for the show, and just makes you feel like this is truly a safe space.  England plays the narrator and the V.E.T and has the audience eating out of the palm of his cat scratched hand!  Ben Vardy garners belly laughs as Mr. Thomas whilst singing about his favourite chair, and allows him to be grumpy without ever being mean.  His finely tuned approach allows this young audience to like him and join in with his songs.  Kerry Lovell is Mrs. Thomas and has a great scene with Max Gallagher (who plays the piano throughout the show in a kind of movie music atmospheric kind of way, as well as for the actual songs).  Mrs. Thomas is taking Mog to the V.E.T in the car and between them, they combine physical theatre movement by reacting to a radio style commentary on the action, including breaking for lollipop crossings, dropped sweets and the 3 second rule!  It is unique, funny, and brilliantly executed.

Jesse Meadows
and Maria Goodman are enthusiastic, lively, and bursting with love for their cat as Nicky and Debbie, making sure that Mog always has a voice.  They are so in tune with the audience, and great at switching roles seamlessly, and providing scene changes and props, ensuring the production continues to run smoothly.  But the biggest hit with the audience was Georgina Goodchild as Mog.  Impeccable cat like moves, and an innocence that you can’t help but love!  Yes!  I just said I love a cat!  In my earliest of acting classes, I was told that if you can act with your eyes without saying a word, then you can act.  Today, I saw that lesson brought to life by Goodchild.  Her expression through eyes alone told her entire story and it was fascinating and brilliant to watch.  I could genuinely suspend my disbelief and accept that Mog was on that stage.  Directed by Helena Middleton & Jesse Jones, the entire show was pitched just right and felt like a warm hug.  The inclusion of songs written by Joey Hickman kept the pace of the show, and allowed for great moments of humour, such as the cat dance and the cats chorus in barbershop singing style.  They also offered ample opportunity for the audience to delve right in and hum along.  The bond between this cast is visible for all to see and their family feel transcends into the audience, making everyone feel entirely welcome.

Mog is celebrating 50 years since its initial publication so it is no wonder that these books are loved by our nation, young and old, cat lovers, dog lovers, and even parrot lovers!  This longevity makes the Judith Kerr books popular with a spectrum of ages, from adults who grew up reading them, to children who are falling in love with them, to those yet to discover them.  This production will look after all of you, and promises nostalgia, delight and excitement.  This docile, fluffy, wide eyed feline will steal your heart for the hour show, and have you digging out your old favourite books for a sneaky bedtime read.  Bathe in that unique fuzzy glow that only a magical children’s book can provide and pounce your way to the Lowry for a miaow-verlous time.         




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