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Town Mouse and Country Mouse review at Nottingham Playhouse – ‘lovingly created’

Rory Quinn and Narisha Lawson in Town Mouse and Country Mouse at Nottingham Playhouse. Photo: Robert Day Rory Quinn and Narisha Lawson in Town Mouse and Country Mouse at Nottingham Playhouse. Photo: Robert Day

Nottingham Playhouse has built up a strong tradition of lovingly created theatre for small children. There’s lots to excite and nothing to frighten them here, and whilst they can choose to sit on cushions within the playing area, there’s no pressure to make them join in.

They do, of course – who wouldn’t? Robin Kingsland’s kindly tale of the formally mannered Curtis, the Country Mouse, and his worldly-wise cousin, Teena, draws us all in at a gentle pace until we find ourselves happily barking like dogs or braying our sirens so that the visiting Teena can go to sleep amid familiar city noises.

She’s used to sleeping in a crisp bag, so having a tea bag as a duvet is unfamiliar. Part of the charm is the scale of the simple props used to miniaturise the two mice. The rest is down to the warm rapport that Narisha Lawson and Rory Quinn develop with the children, using songs and imagination.

There’s a moral to the story too: when you’re mean to people, it makes them sad. This tours to primary schools after its run – a reminder that this is one of the few producing houses still making that contribution.

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Simple and kindly tale for small children – a perfect introduction to live theatre