This appealing Christmas show for the under-sevens in the Old Vic Studio in Bristol is a bit like pressing the red button on a television remote control and finding that the nursery rhyme you have chosen has merged with several others.
The skill of director Miranda Cromwell and dramaturg Adam Peck is in persuading the eager youngsters out front that Little Red Riding Hood can flow quite naturally from fellow vertically-challenged Little Bo Peep and onwards into the likes of the Grand Old Duke of York and yet another “Little”, Miss Muffet.
Owen Ridley-DeMonick, Isabelle Cressy and Alice Barclay kick up a rumpus as they act out the familiar stories, and there is clever use of shadow puppetry, especially in the scenes involving spiders. DeMonick even manages to introduce the young audience to cross-dressing as an over-wrought Little Bo Peep, while all three players display dual skills as musicians backing the familiar nursery rhymes.
Perhaps the Owl and the Pussy Cat finale is the most impressive interpretation, but it is the involvement of the boys and girls in the audience - some charmingly shy, others bold as brass - that creates the real magic.