Storytelling is the key to Ed Robson’s portmanteau Christmas show, combining ten different tales into one extended story session as five clown figures attempt to send their audience off to sleep before the arrival of Father Christmas.
Truthfully, sleep is the least likely event in a production that knows exactly which buttons to press. The stories major on the known - Little Red, Princes and the Pea, Rumpelstiltskin - but do allow for a couple of rarities in The Magic Tablecloth And The Goat, and The Light Princess.
Such variety is well-placed, stretching the audience while still playing with all the usual pantomime elements of interaction, cross dressing and the triumph of good over evil. Only the final Pinocchio - presented as a one-minute rhyming flourish - doesn’t hit the mark.
By its nature this is a true ensemble piece - characters are passed between actors and gender is immaterial. Belle Jones, Peter Callaghan, Natalie Wallace and Kim Allan blend seamlessly in, with only the lanky Tyler Collins slightly unsure when it comes to lines and accents. He covers well, though, and his baddy characters are superbly drawn.
Simple, toy-box style costumes from Maggie McAllister and strong sound design and music from Bal Cooke, all help this move effortlessly along.