The Borrowers, Norwich

IAN CLARKE It is exactly half a century since Mary Norton published the first instalment of the series of books about The Borrowers.

IAN CLARKE

It is exactly half a century since Mary Norton published the first instalment of the series of books about The Borrowers.

Since then, millions of youngsters and their parents have enjoyed reading tales of the enchanting adventures of the Clock family – Pod, Homily and Arriety.

Versions for TV and film followed, and last night Charles Way's adaptation for the stage opened at the Theatre Royal.

After a slightly slow start, the performance came to life as the little family under the floorboards faced a serious threat when 14-year-old Arriety got her first glimpse of the outside world and made friends with a 'human bean' – one of the definite 'don't dos' for a Borrower.

The scene changes to portray the tiny characters in their home and then as they enter the big world of the 'human beans' were excellent.

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The mix of excitement, drama, happiness, sadness and entering the unknown which Mary Norton wove as she created the complete miniature universe were all successfully transferred on to the stage.

It is a great two-hour show for adults as well as children, and it was a pity that the opening night audience was somewhat disappointing.

t The Borrowers continues until Saturday May 18 with performances at 7.30pm. There are also 11.30am showings on Thursday and Friday, and a 2.30pm matinee (with signing for the deaf) on Saturday. Tickets cost between £4 and £10. Box office: 01603 630000.

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