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

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.

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

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.