Thumbelina, Norwich

The quiet intrigue with which the young audience at Norwich Puppet Theatre greeted a simple wooden Thumbelina, just goes to show that you don't need fancy effects to hold our cool, computer-literate, 21st-century kids.

By MIRANDA YATES

The quiet intrigue with which the young audience at Norwich Puppet Theatre greeted a simple wooden Thumbelina, just goes to show that you don't need fancy effects to hold our cool, computer-literate, 21st-century kids.

What you do need is the leap-frogging imagination and vocal talents offered by Rene Baker at this casually inventive show.

A simple rustic set of gardening tools, baskets and buckets is cunningly applied to create the enchanting scenery for Thumbelina's outdoor adventures. A rustling of old blankets becomes a wild river, basket lids transform into lily pads that double as miniature rafts. Silk wings sewn round a bamboo stick create the perfect dragonfly with which to make an escape.

Rene's versatile vocal range is the power behind this gently compelling production.

This Thumbelina is a feistier and more resourceful heroine than Hans Christian Anderson would have her.

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Living on her tiny wits, she manages to evade all manner of unsuitable beasts who would claim her hand, before settling for nothing less than a royal wedding. Good for her. With the delightful Miss Mouse making herself available for ear-scratching and tickles after the show, Thumbelina is destined to win small hearts until the end of its run of August 31.

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