An enchanting tale at Norden Farm

Published: 4 Dec 2012 09:300 comments

Blunderbus Theatre Company got off to a flying start with their festive equivalent to the Christmas panto at Norden Farm on Saturday.

PHOTO: Blunderbus Theatre Company

Nestling into Maidenhead's barn venue for the season is Plop, a baby barn owl, and his costars, who tell Jill Tomlinson's classic children's tale The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark.

As families filtered into the Courtyard Theatre, the three actors, in character as Edward and his sisters Georgie and Sam, greeted excited children, taking the time to make them feel comfortable in the new environment.

I took my four-year-old nephew, who was in awe as Georgie introduced herself, and he quickly got round to showing her his much-loved dinosaur impressions, which she happily joined in with. As the lights dimmed and the trio ran up to the stage, the set - a tree stump and two small cottages which lit up in front of multi-coloured hills - became a warm winter wonderland.

The actors tell the story of Plop, who falls off of his woodland branch and is greeted by the night he is too scared to explore. With his dad's encouragement he takes small steps into the darkness and meets characters, including a cheeky boy scout and an old lady, who, through different sketches, help him overcome his fear.

The plop models are beautifully crafted and controlled by the actors on stage. The play is highly energetic and each actor gets fully stuck into the performance - playing multiple characters with ease. Children are encouraged to get involved in each scene, pretending they are fireworks, switching on imaginary torches, flapping their arms as wings and much more. There is glitter, flying fluffy poos (my nephew's favourite part), and laughs galore. There is also a very clear message - that dark is kind, exciting and a setting to welcome Santa - which they no doubt took home with them.

The hour-long show was just the right length for the little ones, and the actors, no doubt, who put their all into the enchanting show.

It's not your traditional Christmas performance, but it certainly got me into the festive spirit. But dads beware, you might find yourself playing a bigger part in the action than you had bargained for!

The show is on at Norden Farm until Saturday, December 30. For times and tickets, costing £11.50 for adults and £9.50 for under-16s, visit or call 01628 788997.

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