The Borrowers at Polka Theatre
Mary Norton’s beloved and timeless classic has been faithfully adapted for the stage by Charles Way. Thanks to imaginative and whimsical storytelling The Borrowers puts huge smiles on the faces of small audience members.
The action takes a while to gain momentum but when it hits its stride the atmosphere of the theatre becomes enchanted. The set design is delightful; thoughtful details in the Clocks’ family home beneath the floorboards like a sewing pin ladder are one instance of the great care and creativity with which this story is told.
The themes of escape and refuge are accessible for the young audience while timely and engaging for their accompanying grown-up “human beans”. This production delicately handles the subject of prejudice and draws a beautiful fable about compassion and unlikely friendships.
The Clock family are all gifted physical performers. Phil Yarrow as Pod is particularly adept at judging when to clown and when to pitch an unexpectedly subtle performance. Charlotte Dubery as Arrietty is utterly restless whereas Amanda Gordon brings great range to Homily the homemaker.
In addition to bringing great physicality to their roles, the cast also prove themselves as skilled puppeteers. Every theatrical tool at their disposal is used to bring these stories to life. The young theatre-goers squealed with glee at giant flying moths and jumping crickets.
With a running time of almost two hours (including interval) some youngsters may find The Borrowers too much of an endurance. At some points keeping up with the story feels slightly too similar to the arduous trek undertaken by the heroes onstage, but there are just about enough tricks and surprises to recapture the audience’s attention.
The Borrowers is a stage show that celebrates the joy of storytelling. This production reinvigorates a classic children’s story as a parable for the times.
Photo: Robert Workman
The Borrowers is at Polka Theatre, Wimbledon from the 16th June until 20th August 2017. For further information or to book visit here.