Eloise and the Curse of the Golden Whisk review at the Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter – ‘inventive’

Jesse Meadows in Eloise and the Curse of the Golden Whisk at the Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter. Photo: Maria Dragan

Set in wartime Exeter, this city is a culinary wasteland. Having escaped occupied Paris, a girl – who happens to be a talented cook – is homeless. By chance, Eloise finds refuge at Arthur’s renowned restaurant, where diners enjoy lentil soup, spam fritters and bread pudding.

This energetic, talented and multi-skilled ensemble fill the stage with characters as a quirky tale unfolds. Skilfully recreating the period, there are spivs and black market racketeers, American GI’s with an eye for a pretty girl and a wireless announcer with the latest news.

Simply set, props are imaginatively used as the action rushes along. The chance discovery of a golden whisk, dormant for 500 years, suddenly becomes a major problem. There’s a curse. Unless Eloise can quickly solve three riddles, she will be turned to gold. As the story gathers pace, Grandma Baggins (Hanora Kamen) comes to the rescue, and there follows a death-defying and very funny plane journey into the clouds, their only defence from attack a pet hen with a mean ability to launch eggs.

Inventive and engaging storytelling, this production is told with warmth and a huge sense of fun. Jesse Meadows, a sincere and delightful Eloise, bravely faces the troubles that haunt her sleep, before finding gentle romance.