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The Elves and the Shoemaker at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead

Published by: Clare Brotherwood on 5th Dec 2016 | View all blogs by Clare Brotherwood

For many youngsters, Norden Farm’s Christmas show is their first experience of theatre, and this year’s production from the Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company should ensure that they come back for more.

Excited chatter turns to squeals of delight as two little green men set about helping hapless shoemaker Sam Lacey make magic shoes in artistic director Niki McCretton’s adaptation of Vera Southgate’s all time favourite.

Stuff and Nonsense’s claim of making ‘energetic, mischievous and inspiring theatre’ is spot on.

The fun starts when Sam’s neighbour Belinda bustles through the audience, chatting animatedly to all and sundry, making the little ones feel part of the production.

Her enthusiasm continues throughout the show, not only for life but for Sam and his good fortune. She’s desperate to make friends, and Chloe Conquest’s lively performance endears her to all.

Sam spends the entire time in his pyjamas, which may be a clue to the fact that he is a bit slow and sleepy. Certainly, his ideas of making shoes out of bricks and bread show that he is not the brightest, and Graham Elwell portrays his ineptitude in such a way that he has his audience screaming with laughter and offering plenty of support when the elves appear to shouts of that Christmas anthem ‘Look behind you!’

The elves, looking like distant cousins of Kermit the Frog, are also the subject of great hilarity and excitement as they turn up when least expected and from all sorts of hidden places, keeping little minds engaged. Sarah Moody’s quirky music, which sounds like a collection of kitchen utensils banging together, also adds to the mix.

There is, of course, a feel good factor, a message about helping each other and making friends, but most of all it’s an entertaining 55 minutes which will hopefully nurture future theatre audiences.


The Elves and The Shoemaker is at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead until December 30.

Box office: 01628 788997



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