We hadn’t read the book “The Borrowers” by Mary Norton before going to see the Sherman Theatre’s production so didn’t really know what to expect.
In the first half of the production the tiny Clock family – father Pod, mother Homily and 14-year-old daughter Arietty – live underneath the floorboards in a big house, surviving by borrowing things from the “human beans” who live upstairs and who don’t know that they exist. While Homily is house proud and loves her home Arietty is bored and lonely and wants to see more of the world. She makes friends with a human boy but this leads to disaster when the family are chased out of their home by the evil housekeeper Mrs Driver!
In the second half we follow the family’s adventures in the world outside where the seasons change and the Borrowers are exposed to rain and snow. While Homily longs for her warm cosy home, Arietty is in her element enjoying the fresh air and freedom outside and the opportunity to make new friends such as Spiller (another Borrower) and Cricket.
The set was amazing and worked really well. The stage represented the Borrowers’ home under the stairs and we absolutely loved all the props – things that are usually tiny were blown up to life-size! The family used a cotton reel and dice as seats and a thimble as a cooking pot and we loved the glowing match stick they used instead of a light. There were some good jokes too – such as when Homily told Arietty off for playing with her food when she used a tomato as a space hopper! The area in front of the stage represented the upstairs where the humans live and when the human boy pulled up one of the floorboards to drop things down to the Borrowers the tiny objects at the front of the stage turned into enormous objects in the Borrowers’ home which we thought was really clever!
All the characters were brilliant (even horrible Mrs Driver!) and well-played by the actors. Our favourite character was Arietty, because she was adventurous and had big dreams! We also really liked Cricket – although he only made a short appearance in the second half his singing and dancing was really funny and had everyone in the audience laughing out loud!
The music was excellent. The band was onstage and really felt a part of the show and the music really reflected what was going on the stage and influenced the atmosphere. There was a lovely old piano with all the workings exposed and we loved seeing the parts move as it was played. The musicians were fantastic – at one point one of the musicians was playing the guitar, piano and drums all at the same time!
Our favourite part of the show was when the Borrowers were setting up their new home in an old boot in the second half. The music that accompanied this scene was energetic and bouncy and it almost looked like a dance as the family moved around the stage setting everything up. We loved it when they used a shoelace from the boot as a washing line to hang their clothes on and when Pod made Arietty a skipping rope out of daisies.
When she lived in the big house Arietty had a diary which was her prized possession and she wrote in it every day. Even when she lost it escaping from the house she continued to imagine writing in it and would write in the air which was a clever way of giving us a glimpse into Arietty’s thoughts.
At the end of the show, following lots of adventures, the family all choose what they want to do – Homily and Pod decide to go and live with their relatives, while Arietty decides to spend her life with her friend, Spiller, in the outdoors. While it was a bit sad that the family were separated we liked the moral of the story which was that everyone must choose their own path in life and that different things make different people happy.
This was a brilliant show full of energy and with lots of laughs. The most amazing thing was the set and all the props but there was nothing bad to say about it at all! We have already recommended it to some of our friends and would happily watch it again ourselves and now we can’t wait to read the book!
Nia and Megan Callaghan
Until December 21