Wow, what a wonderful way to start a new year of theatre in Bath! We’ve enjoyed so many family productions at The Egg and without fail enjoyed every one. However, the Bucket Club’s production of Five Children and It just about trumps the lot with its creative setting, fantastic acting, plenty of laughs and so much to just sit back and enjoy. All in all, Five Children and It is a children’s theatrical masterclass and absolutely to be recommended.
Based on the hugely popular children’s story by E Nesbit, the plot sees five children moving from London to live with their uncle in the Kent countryside. While playing in a gravel pit, they encounter a grumpy old sand fairy called It who reluctantly agrees to grant them a wish a day, with the proviso that whatever they wish for will cease to be at sunset.
So starts a wonderful series of adventures featuring gold treasure, flying children, babies turning into embarrassing adults and even a siege at a castle. Throughout the children are superbly played by adult actors, although such are the skills on display, you soon forget the ages involved. The cast are simply wonderful at bringing their young characters to life, including their growing awareness of the situation that they find themselves, the excitement and exhilaration that comes with their discoveries, and the fears that they ultimately uncover.
Beside the children, all of the other parts are played by just two actors, Patrick Bridgman as Uncle Paul – as well as vicar, a fine lady artist, a warrior and more – and Craig Edwards as the snow fairy itself, an invading knight, a confused horse seller and a vicar’s gun happy assistant. Of course, it’s the fairy who gets most of the laughs and deservedly so. Edwards’ performance is just wonderful – full misery at the appearance of those most loathsome of creatures – children – and desperate just to get away from it all, he still manages to entertain the audience and teach a few lessons along the way, no more so than to beware what you wish for…
Alongside the central plot are songs aplenty, an inventive use of minimal props and even an inflatable alligator and a ferret driving a car – which surely has to be worth the ticket price alone!
Aimed at children aged six years and older, Five Children and It was a real hit with my 11 year old, not to mention his 40 and 50 something parents, while the children of all ages in the audience appeared to love every minute. At two hours long – with an interval included – we couldn’t have been happier with our latest visit to the excellent The Egg theatre, and strongly recommend that you give it a go as soon as possible.
Five Children and It plays at The Egg Theatre in Bath until Sunday 16 January 2022. For more information and to book tickets, click here