The thought of a children’s tea party conjures up images of Enid Blyton’s lashings of ginger beer, Roald Dahl’s chocolate factory and the amazing double-page spreads in the book You Choose. So celebrating Ilkley Literature Festival’s 40th anniversary with a tea party seemed wholly appropriate.
Whilst we didn’t devour Bruce Bogtrotter’s chocolate cake, the plate of tea party goodies (for the children) and a much-needed cuppa and cake for the grown-ups were very well-received.
Children were invited to dress up as their favourite book character and we spotted Horrid Henry, Willy Wonka and Sherlock Holmes as we made our way into the adjoining King’s Hall. Children’s comedian James Campbell provided the afternoon’s entertainment. Children can be a highly vocal audience and James dealt capably with several outbursts from his understandably-excited young audience, within minutes of appearing onstage. Throughout the show he interacted well with the children, encouraging audience participation.
Having never seen a ‘children’s’ comedian before, I had wondered how easy it would be to keep both children and adults laughing but James’ humour spanned the generations. My highlight of the show was his routine about evil lollipop ladies and the real reason we don’t see so many of them on our streets. There was much mirth at the idea of these innocent ladies biting children’s feet and ending their days as highlighter pens. The afternoon’s entertainment slowed briefly was during the James’ pitch about the audio books available at the end of the show but he quickly recaptured the children’s interest with his show-closing gags about Wii consoles. Needless to say, the ‘Wii/wee’ jokes provoked much hilarity. I heard several children repeating them as they left the venue, clutching their gift bags containing – appropriately enough – a gift of a Roald Dahl book. And how fitting that it was a Willy Wonka costume which won the prize for the best-dressed book character.
To find about about other at events at Ilkley Literature Festival, please click on the link.
For all the latest festival news and reviews, visit The Pickled Egg, the official Ilkley Literature Festival blog site.
Visit James Campbell‘s website to read more about him.