The studio of Bristol Old Vic has been transformed into a Winter Wonderland, ready for the tale of The Night that Autumn Turned to Winter, a Little Bulb Theatre/Farnham Maltings/BOV Christmas production for the very young. Not that you have to be under 7 to enjoy every ounce of this truly lovely show: none of us, I hope, is too old to want to be wrapped up in the warmth of clever songs, fun storytelling and daft but well observed characters.
Clare Beresford, Dominic Conway and Miriam Gould are Wardens of the Wood. They are also fairies, protecting and observing nature on this, the very last day of Autumn. Once the season has turned, they hope to welcome the Winter Unicorn, that shy-of-humans creature who is waiting for the last leaf to fall. As morning turns to afternoon turns to evening turns to night, we meet a host of woodland creatures along the way, each needing to survive in the harshness yet to come.
Ah, the comedy of the frog, the melancholy of the spider, the majesty of the owl, the first flight of the fairy. And a too convincing fox with such cunning, clad in leather coat and sunglasses! Those hedgehogs will have you giggling and cooing. Great costumes here – I want to throw an Ugly Bug fancy dress Ball, because now I know exactly how a fly should look. And sing.
This woodland story is told as much through song as it is narrative, with just the right balance of both to keep every child enthralled for the full hour (my daughter reckons the Winter Unicorn song was set to a Taylor Swift tune?) Expect physicality, laughter, silliness and an all-round good time in this cheerful and lightly educational tale of the wild.
The Night that Autumn Turned to Winter shows at Bristol Old Vic until 10th January 2016