Review: The Borrowers, The Sherman Theatre

On Tuesday 29th November, the Sherman Theatre opened its doors to a heart-warming and lovable family story. The Borrowers is brought to life by a vibrant and endearing cast with the perfect story for Christmas. As one of those iconic tales from everyone’s childhood, you never outgrow the thrill of The Borrowers, of tiny people living under the floorboards and a whole new world which opens up to you.

Now see The Borrowers in a way you’ve never seen it before. Follow the exciting perspectives on scale to bring the world of the Borrowers and the world of the ‘human beans’ together. You can laugh, frown and cry along with the characters as you watch their story unfold, and join Arrietty in her journey to see beyond the nailed down sky of her world and out into the sun; I saw the world beyond our world beneath the floorboards. I never forgot and in my heart, I swore one day I would return.”

Arrietty (Kezrena James) is the star of The Borrowers as she ventures beyond the life that she has always known in search of new adventures and experiences. Through her diary entries, we not only get to know Arrietty as her closest confidant but we learn more about her changing understanding of her world and a glimpse into her relationships with those she loves the most and how she changes into someone who is able to stand up for what is right along the way.

Kezrena James is supported by a charming cast who bring new enthusiasm into this vibrant tale. The teamwork and camaraderie clearly comes across on stage as beloved characters interact seamlessly with each other: Kieron Self (Pod), Cait Davis (Homily), Huw Blainey (Boy), Joseph Tweedale (Crampfurl/Spiller) and Harvey Virdi (Mrs.Driver). The inspired work of Dom Coyote (Gypsy Boy) as the musical director of the group leads to a small and intimate cast which reflects through the connections with each character, as a warm and familiar group in a well-known tale. You will fall in love with the Clock family, a trio with big hearts in a tiny world beneath the floorboards, with the worrying Pod, homemaking Homily and spunky Arrietty as they take on the big wide world of the human beans.

SPOILERS ALERT: one of the most ingenious parts about this performance is the way they portrayed the size differences, with a split level stage and simultaneous acting between the two levels. Mrs. Driver walking in the human level echoes in the Borrowers home, and Crampfurl’s stomping creates a downpour of dust on the heads of the family.

Sprinkling a few comedy sketches among the tale, with characters that will have your sides splitting with laughter such as Mr Cricket and his hilarious performance or the Dreadful Spiller, a young wild Borrower who aids Arrietty in a few of her little schemes. Of course, the happy ending adds a slight spin to the story that many of us are familiar with but compliments the original and makes for a cheery ending to the show, making it perfect for kids to enjoy and with enough witty jokes for mum and dad too.

There is clever use of props to show the size difference between the stages, such as the thimble pot and postcard wall that decorate the Clock’s home. By using everyday items from the human world, we really get the feel that we too are tiny people borrowing little bits from the house which have been lost. The adaptability of the set, the music and even the actors creates a fluid and exciting play which is always moving, changing and takes the audience along for the ride. The lively music score is perfect to set the scene, playful and happy but with somber moments too. Especially the encore with the entire audience roused to sing and clap along with the cast is a heart-warming moment, demonstrating the family feel and friendly vibe of the entire performance and a great way to end the night!

Definitely a must-see play this Christmas if you fancy something a bit different, bring your family, your friends and enjoy a cracking performance.

The Borrowers is showing at the Sherman Theatre until the 31st December 2016. Images by Burning Red