Gareth Cooper and Bethany-Jo Clews as the shoemakers. Picture: Steve Gresty

The Elves and the Shoemakers

Derby Theatre Studio


THIS lovely little Christmas production is inspired by the Brothers Grimm fairy tale written just over a hundred years ago in 1806.

Performed in the intimate 100-seater studio, it is aimed at 3-7 year olds but particularly suits pre-school age children, and is an ideal introduction to the theatre as a first visit for youngsters.

The single set of the shoemaker’s house is quaint and atmospheric, the music simple and child friendly. Two pairs of characters are presented, the old shoemaker and his wife, and two young elves both enthusiastically and energetically played by , who have to perfect some fairly nifty costume changes from their bedroom as shoemakers, to elves a few moments later.

All the ingredients for young children are here. The plot is simple, the language repetitive ensuring that everyone knows what is going on, the humour is gentle, and the costumes are bright and colourful. Children from the audience are invited on stage, and there are plenty of opportunities to join in with songs and indulge in communal foot stamping and dancing.

The already simple source story is further simplified, and the running time of fifty five minutes in one act is perfect for a child’s attention span. The magic is woven but not stretched. The Elves and the Shoemaker is enjoying a very successful run, with performances typically at 10.30am and 1.30pm so as not to interfere with young bedtimes, and runs until Sat 26th December.

Gary Longden


The show can also be seen at: Lichfield Garrick, Sat 16 January, 11am & 2pm, Box Office - 01543 412121.; Book. Brewhouse Arts Centre, Burton upon Trent, Sat 23 January, 2pm, Box Office: 01283 508100. Book; Nottingham Lakeside Arts, Sun 24 January, 1pm & 3.30pm, Box Office: 0115 846 777 Book 


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