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The Elves and the Shoemaker review at the Mac, Belfast – ‘fresh and inventive’

Emer McDaid in The Elves and the Shoemaker at the MAC, Belfast
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The moon is full, the sky is starry and the elves are out to play. Mischievous Dewdrop (Jolene O’Hara) is new to this magic game and must prove herself before being accepted into Marigold (Fiona Carty) and Catnip’s (Aisling Groves-McKeown) enchanted circle.

Years ago, kindly shoemaker Stan Wellington’s (Sean Kearns) father told him about the elves’ complex relationship to humans, but had not believed him. Now, as Stan and his devoted wife Bet (Claire Barrett) are threatened with eviction by Miss Perkins, a ruthless landlady/property developer (sparky Emer McDaid) he wishes that he had tried harder to build trust with these benevolent little folk.

Stephen Beggs and Simon Magill have woven other fairytales into their Brothers Grimm-inspired narrative. Cinderella slips into some sparkly pumps, Puss in Boots pulls on a pair of thigh-high boots and the Old Lady Who Lives in a Shoe snaps up a boot large enough to accommodate her unruly brood.

Director Paul Bosco McEneaney unleashes his inventive theatrical imagination onto a catalogue of baffling illusions, while Garth McConaghie’s sophisticated songscape contains unmistakeable echoes of Sondheim.

In a nuanced, sweetly understated performance, Kearns is the heart and soul and twinkling feet and moral compass of this pleasing piece of family theatre.

 

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Verdict
A fresh, multi-faceted fairytale with a warm-hearted moral ending
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