Review of Kika’s Birthday at the Orange Tree Theatre London

Kika's Birthday - Orange Tree Theatre - Photo by The Other Richard
Kika’s Birthday – Orange Tree Theatre – Photo by The Other Richard

Danyah Miller was last at the Orange Tree Theatre during Christmas 2015 when her one-woman interpretation of Michael Morpurgo’s I Believe in Unicorns was an engaging success. She has a remarkable talent as a storyteller – and she is back this year with Kika’s Birthday which she wrote with her husband John.

Kika, a mouse, is going to be 5-years-old. Her family has planned a surprise party to which all her friends have been invited. But what would a birthday party be without a birthday cake and that’s where the story starts. Danyah prepares the cake on stage with the children suggesting items for the recipe. (One four-year-old suggested Bergamot – only in Richmond!). The cake is actually baked onstage and as the story unfolds there is a delicious aroma of baking chocolate cake coming across the stage. Mary Berry gets a name check. The mice are puppets and Danyah manipulates them deftly as she tells the story, sings the songs and engages with the audience.

The audience was very young (the odd Mum, Dad or Grandparent aside) and it was quite an achievement to keep them engaged for the full 50 minutes. This is a master storyteller at work and it’s a delight to watch. The children were mostly wide-eyed and participative. Even the shy ones soon responded. The importance of opening up the magic of theatre to children as early as possible cannot be overstated. Get children into the theatre as often as possible before the age of seven and you’ve got them for life (as the Jesuits didn’t quite say). Well done to Danyah and all involved.

4 stars

Review by Paddy Brggs

Kika, a little French mouse, is going to be 5 years old! Her family has planned a birthday surprise, with friends, songs and a grasshopper band. But who is that with his twitchy tail and shining eyes watching them closely? It’s the Bright Orange Cat. Will he join the party, make some new friends and share some birthday cake, or does he have something else in mind?

A delightful interactive story, with puppetry, by award winning storyteller, Danyah Miller, for children aged 3+ and their families. Come and help this family of mice bake a special birthday cake for Kika and maybe you can even share a tiny piece of it with them all.

Danyah Miller returns to the Orange Tree following the Christmas 2015 success of Michael Morpurgo’s I Believe in Unicorns. Samantha Lane is Artistic Director of Little Angel Theatre.

Kika’s Birthday
20 December 2017 — 6 January 2018
Running time 50 minutes

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