Whether you are four or seventy-four, the sunflowers in the M6 Theatre’s children’s show Sunflowers and Sheds shine very brightly, indeed.

These dazzling daisies grow on newcomer Isabella’s allotment near the railway next to the vegetable-growing pride of veteran gardener, Frank. Isabella, played by Eve Robertson, is a young Eastern European immigrant who, as well as growing sunflowers keeps hens on her allotment.   

Luke Walker’s Frank is lonely and vulnerable and his crops act as a replacement for his family who have emigrated to Australia. These two actors work hard to establish the difference between their characters and yet illustrate how, despite everything, they eventually get on well. Their relationship is built on favours - Isabella offers Frank some eggs, Frank helps to repair her bicycle.

The impact this play has on a young audience is enormous. They are captivated by Joss Matzen’s design, Tayo Akinbode’s gentle music and the story itself, written by Dorothy Wood and Gilly Baskeyfield who also directs.

When I ask my five-year-old grandson, Harry what he thinks of it, he says:  “I like it when Isobella puts the chicken shed up.”  Another of his favourites scenes is where Frank says “Drink up, cabbages; drink up Carrots; drink up Frank (a cup of tea).

This is no fairy tale, though as the people are real as are their relationships, simple yet subtle so that children understand and their parents feel fulfilled also.

- Julia Taylor