The Borrowers At Theatre by the Lake, Keswick review


Reviewed by Jo Hardy

A trip to the theatre at Christmas is one of the best ways to bring the family together and make lasting memories.
This year Theatre by the Lake’s Christmas show is “The Borrowers” Mary Norton’s classic story about a family of tiny people living under the floorboards in a Manor House, I can remember watching this on TV many years ago and was looking forward to seeing how this would be adapted for the stage.

The theatre was full on “Christmas “, huge colourful baubles hanging in the foyer and a lovely Christmas tree that appeared to go through the ceiling and yes when we went upstairs the top of the tree was on the second floor, before the auditorium opened encouraged by the staff we had a fun time trying to find teeny tiny borrowers figures scattered about the foyer, apparently there were 30 but we only managed to find 15.

The show is a mixture of acting, singing, dancing and puppetry.  All the cast played different instruments throughout the show playing a lot of music with a folksy feel to it.  It was also lovely to see a local youth cast in the show.
The mixture of “borrowers” and full sized humans was cleverly represented sometimes using the most adorable puppets as well as other staging techniques.  At the very start of the show I was a bit confused about who was a “Borrower” and who was a human but the difference became more apparent after the first few minutes and was easy to separate the two for the rest of the show.

The “Borrowers” were brilliant recyclers, sneaking into the house to borrow items they could use in there little home under the floor boards.  Their life was turned upside down when they were spotted by the humans and to save themselves they had to make a run for it and find a new place to live, this time outdoors.  It was here they met Spiller who turned out to be their saviour.  He was a scruffy rather dirty boy and Homilly the mother borrower took the first opportunity she could to wash him while they were sailing down the river in his sardine tin boat.  When this happened the audience were showered with real bubbles and I felt like I had a wash myself.

The show is full of talented people who did a great job of transporting me into the life of the “Borrowers” but for me the star was the singing cricket.

Not as Christmasy as I had hoped but still a lovely family show with a happy ending. reinforcing the importance of family and showing us that it is possible for the little people to win.

Rating: 4/5

The show runs for approx 120mins with an interval, it is a family show suitable for children six and over , ticket prices range from £10.00 to £39.00 and can be booked on the theatre website or by calling the box office 01768774411

Theatre by the Lake ,Lakeside, Keswick,Cumbria, CA12 5DJ

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