Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

The Best Christmas Show in Town

At the Sherman

The Borrowers , Sherman Cymru , December 18, 2003
At the Sherman by The Borrowers Whilst I could appreciate the naughtyness and the brashness of ‘Aladdin’ at the New Theatre, this was much more my cup of tea. And what a warm and golden cupful it was. This was the third of Sherman Artistic Director Phil Clark’s Christmas shows that I have seen and this was, for me, by far the best. An exquisite theatre achievement, a perfect combining of the skills of a wonderful original idea from Mary Norton, a sensitive adaptation by Charlie Way, ingenious set design by Sean Crowley, who’s work just goes on getting better and better, lighting by Ceri James and charming music by Paula Gardiner.

Add to this, eight wonderful actors who are all also accomplished musicians and the magical touch of the director and we have this captivating and delightful experience. It was a joy to sit there and let it all waft, so gently, over me.

The Borrowers were, ingeniously, big people, real actors under the floor of the house but very little people, puppets when they were upstairs with the real grown-ups. The interplay between the puppets and the real people was very charming and perfectly executed.

There were strong and endearing performances from all the cast. Lucy Rivers’ bold and naughty Arietty was a character that all the young people in the audience could quickly admire and identify with. Gareth Wyn Griffiths and Nia Davies, as her mother and father found just the right note to convince us that they were smaller though not very ‘differenter’ from our own mums and dads. Iwan Tudor’s Gypsy boy was equally successful in capturing this same magic.

And as for the real grown ups, at times Bethan Morgan’s tyrant Mrs. Driver seemed even more terrifying than Stifyn Parri’s Abanazar! Clearly Nick Wayland Evans has a great career playing gentle giants, before him. There was a very fine and rewarding unity about everyone’s acting style, a delicacy particularly in the way Oliver Wilson Dickson was able, as a nearly grown up human being, to emphasise with his diminutive new found friends.

I felt really uplifted by all this and I’m sure that all the near teenage children in the audience left feeling good and happy and with a very positive feeling in their hearts. Maybe I shouldn’t say this but I’m going to anyway – the Borrowers is the best Christmas show in town!

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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