The Borrowers is the main Christmas Show at Northern Stage this year and it is a delight for adults and children alike. Director Erica Whyman ensures she gets the best from her cast at all times and brings this adaption of Mary Norton’s’ classic book to life in front of our eyes.
We first meet the Borrowers as they live under the floorboards in a large house, where the scary Mrs Driver (Bev Fox) rules the house with an iron fist. Pod; excellently played by Gary Kitchin, regularly goes “above ground” to bring items back for the Borrowers to use, but finally agrees to take Arrietty (Frances McNamee) with him. We watch both the actors (and their puppet versions) scale the items in the house until, Arrietty comes across a boy (Matthew Cavendish). It is when the boy tries to find Arrietty that the trouble starts and the Borrowers have to escape the house and start another life.
Andrew Stephenson (Designer) has pulled out all the stops on the set, with the scene where the boy lifts the floorboards especially a delight to watch.
There are a few forgettable songs scattered throughout the production and to be honest they slow things down and get in the way of a cracking yarn. Nothing would be lost by cutting them out.
However, while Bev Fox excels as Mrs. Driver, it would have been a nice touch to have the role played by a man, like Miss Trunchbull in Matilda.
The Borrowers is an ideal antidote to panto and a class production reminiscent of the quality of Whymans’ Christmas Carol a few years ago.