Tiny people get ready for the Christmas spirit

The Borrowers is being performed at Nuffield Theatre, Southampton from November 29 until January 8.
The Borrowers is being performed at Nuffield Theatre, Southampton from November 29 until January 8.
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Have you ever noticed odd things going missing in your home? Or just looking a bit worn? Maybe the door mat looks a little frayed around the edges, or there’s crumbs on the kitchen side.

It’s not mice, or rats, or even the family dog causing trouble; it’s The Borrowers.

The tiny people that live in our homes were first discovered in Mary Norton’s 1952 novel, and the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton is adapting that very book for the inspiration behind it’s Christmas production.

Nicola Blackman stars as Mrs Driver, one of the giant adults or ‘human beans.’

She says: ‘What’s amazing is that Patrick (Sandford, director) knows a woman called Barbara Flynn, who used to house sit for the woman who wrote it, Mary Norton.

‘She was passing on little tips about how she wrote it.’

Nicola, who lives in New York and London, travels back and forth for jobs. After appearing in the Nuffield Theatre’s 2010 Christmas show, A Christmas Carol, she couldn’t wait to come back and do another.

‘I’ve been here in England since April now,’ she explains, ‘and the show is just beautifully done. It’s very faithful to the book and it’s really lovely. I’ve been coming back to the Nuffield for about 20 years since I did my first show here in 1990.’

But the unusual subject for the production does mean the cast and crew have a few tricks up their sleeve.

Nicola adds: ‘Without giving too much away, I think it’s really clever how they’ve set up the stage, so the adults and the borrowers can both be there, even though they are supposed to be tiny.

‘It’s just lovely how they do it, and it’s surprising how different they look. I just can’t wait to get started now, I like rehearsals but I’d much rather go out there and do it.’

The Nuffield Theatre’s production of The Borrowers will also include three sets of children who play the mice, a variety of insects, and sometimes ‘mini borrowers.’

The novel was famously adapted into a 1997 film of the same name, starring John Goodman, Jim Broadbent, and Celia Imire.

Tickets cost £8.50 to £16.50 from the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton on (023) 8061 1771 or go to nuffieldtheatre.co.uk.