The judges of the Musical Theatre Matters: UK Awards presented this production with a special discretionary prize for bringing the genre to young people in such effective and enchanting fashion.
Based on a Chinese folktale, and co-written by Susannah Pearse and Korean composer YounYoung Park, the title refers to a competition launched by an emperor who wishes to find a child as his successor to the throne.
All of the kingdom’s children enter the competition, in which the emperor hands each a seed and invites them back to the palace in a year’s time to show him what they’ve grown. Ling is an adept gardener but, unlike her friends, who deliver pots full of exotic flowers, she can’t seem to grow even the smallest shoot from her seed.
The young audience when I attended were captivated by this 45-minute show, driven along by a bouncy narrator and lots of song, dance and vibrant floral displays. And the story’s moral will please parents too.