Reviewed by Kirsty Alexander
Playing at Sherman Theatre until 31st December
For ages 7+
This festive season, the Sherman is treating audiences to a double Christmas helping: The Emperor’s New Clothes, performed in the theatre’s studio space, is playing alongside The Borrowers, which has taken over the main stage. Based on Mary Norton’s classic children’s book which was originally published in the early 1950s, The Borrowers still feels just as relevant to today’s society. This story may focus on small people, but it sure has a big message to get across.
Though Arietty Clock can hear the voices of human beans, she has no idea what goes on above the floorboards, until her dad decides to teach her the ways of a true Borrower, kickstarting their adventure. There are gasps of surprise as we are first introduced to a tiny puppet version of Arietty and even the adults in the audience are on the edge of their seats as the evil Mrs Driver hunts down the pocket-sized family. The live music really adds to the performance and the actor-musicians switch between roles and instruments seamlessly as the Clock family’s exploration and escapades lead to them meeting humans, a hilarious cricket, and more besides.
Hayley Grindle’s set and design are gorgeous and the size comparisons are incredibly clever, really making you believe in this magical tale. There isn’t a lot of audience interaction as compared to your typical children’s Christmas show, but this doesn’t stop intrigue and interest from the young and the young at heart.
Directed by Amy Leach, the cast are full of energy and bring the story to life in an enjoyable fashion. A beautiful tale full of magic, heart and messages of acceptance, letting go and above all, family, The Borrowers is well worth the trip to the Sherman this December.
Kirsty is based in Cardiff and works in the arts. She is part of the Welsh Young Critics’ scheme, and you can read more of her reviews on her blog. Follow Kirsty @chaotickirstyy