Jesse Meadows is a member of The Wardrobe Ensemble and is also playing Nicky in the company’s stage adaptation of Judith Kerr’s Mog the Forgetful Cat at The Old Vic, which is the only London venue hosting the show and will be its penultimate stop before a full run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The Wardrobe Ensemble adapt Judith Kerr’s beloved and iconic stories for the stage, in a lively and enchanting production directed by Jesse Jones and Helena Middleton, 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.
Based on the bestselling Mog picture book series by Judith Kerr, in the 100th Anniversary of Judith Kerr’s birth this month.
You’re starring in Mog The Forgetful Cat at The Old Vic, what can you tell us about the play?
The play follows the adventures of Mog and her ‘people’, the Thomas family. We have adapted three of Judith Kerr’s much-loved stories to create a show for 3-8yr olds and their families which is full of songs, warmth and silliness.
What was it about Judith Kerr’s story that made it perfect for a stage adaptation?
So many things! Judith has written so many books about Mog that her forgetful but much-loved personality shines through in each story. Even though she’s a cat, her thoughts and feelings are made so clear that much of the script we’ve created is lifted straight from the page. Kerr’s dream sequences and pet owner characters are so vividly painted that it was a privilege to bring them to life. We wanted the show to emulate the warm, fuzzy feeling of having a book read out loud to you.
And how has the Wardrobe Ensemble put their unique spin on it?
We are a devising company which means that we create all the content working together in the room. Making this show was a truly collaborate process and I think that shines through with the strength of the ensemble, the tight relationship between the action and musical score, and the interaction we have with the audience to immerse them in the world of the show. It really is an unbelievably playful and joyous experience making work for children and families, and we try to transfer the fun from the rehearsal room into what you see onstage.
You’re playing Nicky, tell us a little about the character and what you’re enjoying most about the role?
Nicky is so much fun! He’s a bundle of energy but also has so much love and affection for his cat, Mog – who is very tolerant of him squeezing her and constantly wanting to play his games! In return, he’s fiercely loyal to her and always standing up for Mog when she gets in trouble. Nicky is balanced out by his older sister Debbie, and I really enjoy getting to double-act with Maria in showing what a strong and loving duo they are.
This is your penultimate stop before taking the show to Edinburgh Fringe, what has been your favourite memory of the tour so far, and what are you looking forward to about getting back to Fringe?
It’s always such a joy to visit places around the UK I wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to see. I’d never been to Leicester before and had a great time visiting the Richard III exhibition between shows at The Curve! I’m thrilled to be heading back to the Fringe after a 4 year break (that long?!) It’s always such a buzz being up there and having the opportunity to see so many other fantastic shows. I’ve certainly had to learn to pace myself over the years, but this will be the first time there with my one-year-old, so that’ll be a new experience!
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Mog The Forgetful Cat?
It’s genuinely so much fun for all the family! There’s singing, there’s dancing, there’s lots of humans playing animals! You don’t need to have read the books to have a great time, but equally if you are already a fan, I think you’ll get so much joy from seeing Mog come to life from the page to the stage! You’ll have a meow-vellous time!