Sammy the Shoemaker is perfect, enchanting Christmas show for under-six-year-olds at Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre
It is aimed squarely at under-six-year-olds and complements the offering for families, Cinderella, in the main house.
The plot – loosely the Elves and the Shoemaker meets Cinderella – is easy to follow and is made even easier by a fairy godmother narrator and timely reminders as to where we are in the story.
Sammy the elf is a brilliant shoemaker but one day everyone wants him to make footwear for a Christmas disco.
Overwhelmed by his task, Sammy runs away and falls into the clutches of Foxy who eats elves for breakfast. His worried friends then set out on a quest to find him and say sorry for giving him too much work to do.
The cast was Liam Farricker as Freddy the farmer elf, Ellen Ramos as Fran the fairy godmother, Gui Sá Pessoa as Charles the cheesemaker elf, Joshua Simpson as Sammy, Jamielee Squires as Carly the carpenter elf and Heather Taylor as saxophone-playing Foxy.
The young cast immediately forged a rapport with the 150-plus nursery schoolchildren making up the audience the afternoon I was there. They were confident and charming and never lost control of the excited and enthusiastic children.
Keeping under sixes entertained for more than an hour is a tough ask and the six performers did just that with perfect professionalism.
The more experienced hands were writer and director by Cheryl Govan, designer Julia Wray and sound designer Ernest Acquah.
The action is busy, busy, busy. For 65 minutes the young audience is never allowed the chance to sit still and be quiet for more than a few minutes; boredom is not an option.
So engaged were they, most shouted to Sammy that going into the ‘deep dark wood’ was a bad idea.
All got on their feet to sing, dance, jiggle, wiggle, clap and shout ‘hurrah’ – and do all the actions to a song about Cinderella.
Though they realised the threat of the woods and Foxy were real for them, the piece never gets too dark to really scare even the youngest member of the audience.
In true, Christmas tradition the elves, the fairy godmother and Foxy get a gentle lesson in friendship, wishes come true and all live happily ever after.
Sammy the Shoemaker's Impossible Day is an enchanting fairy tale cum nursery rhyme full of fun, laughter, adventure and action with audience participation encouraged from the opening.
The full interactive show is a perfect introduction to the magic of live performance.
Sammy the Shoemaker's Impossible Day runs in the McCarthy from now until Friday December 23, daily at 10.30am and 1.30pm. Under 18-month-olds go free but do need a ticket.
Cinderella runs in the round from now until Saturday December 31.
Tickets for both productions are available from on 01723 370541 and online at www.sjt.uk.com