This is the third collaboration by musical theatre veteran Glyn Kerslake and Wiltshire Creative artistic director Gareth Machin on a Christmas-themed show for nursery school children, and it’s just as fruitful as the previous two.
Like The Night Before Christmas and Little Robin Redbreast, it’s the perfect length at just an hour, has plenty of action songs to join in with, opportunities for youngsters to take an active role, puppets and clever staging.
This musical adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s The Tailor of Gloucester takes minor liberties with the original, but is jolly and charming and holds the attention of the tiniest of tots – even if it seems to be the parents doing most of the singing.
Jo Newman’s production is light and bright, and her cast of four, including Kerslake at the piano, works hard to engage the young audience with the story, here told by the mice, who scurry behind the wainscots of Gloucester.
Lara Stubbs is a sweet-voiced Tailor, anxious to secure the last piece of cherry twist.
A nimble Natalie Williams plays Simpkin the sabotaging cat, with Jake Mitchell amusing as an outrageously overblown flunkey.
Most striking is Verity Quinn’s sugar pink and green set of bolts of material, dangling satin ribbons and stacked boxes, which open up to reveal the cherry-coloured coat made by the mice for the Mayor’s Christmas Day wedding.