“Elves!” scream the youthful north London audience with one voice, “Elves in the cupboard!”
Every joyful cry rconfirms that the rather super Stuff and Nonsense theatre company has again hit pitch perfect in its innovative version of the Brothers Grimm fairytale.
Following last year’s success at the venue, The Enormous Turnip, writer/director Niki McCretton and co prove they know their two years and upwards audience very well - captivating the very young with delightful puppetry, a script with just the right mix of action and suspense, and two engaging performers who the kids seem to love.
Ingeniously operating the two funny green elves while playing the parts of Sam Lacey (terrible shoemaker whose online business should be given the boot) and Belinda, (geeky neighbour with a crush on Sam) Toby Gascoigne and Martina Moss-Clarke throw themselves into their parts with gusto - singing, dancing and filling the stage with their effervescence.
With mad hair, the thin Gascoigne looks like a bunch of freshly picked celery and his elastic physicality is complemented by the shorter, vivacious Moss-Clarke, buzzing around the stage like a tomato on steroids - both attempting to find out who exactly is making the terrific-looking shoes each night.
Praise also to designer Tomasin Cuthbert for creating a clever set of secret entrances that allows the performers to dive back and forth as humans one second and elves the other.