Doubling as a launch for her new book about her Norfolk-dwelling protagonist and his ferret friends and as a one-woman performance for young children, Eve Stebbing’s show is doing the rounds of Edinburgh libraries this week and next providing a fun hour of storytelling and puppet-making.
Stebbing was totally at ease with the audience. After offering each child (and reviewer) a Bernard sticker she starts the show by introducing each character and the appropriate response to each when we hear them mentioned in the story. The story she tells – different from that in the book – is simple but fun. A highlight was Stebbing’s vicar asking ‘the wise rabbits’ where the lost ferrets were; ‘they speak through rabbit waves,’ she assures us.
There is also plenty of audience interaction, including for the ferret races themselves. She even tried to teach some Norfolk dialect, as her entertaining Yarmouth fisherman, an interesting choice as the only didactic aspect of the show. The highlight for the small audience though was undoubtedly the puppet-making, only using pieces of card and old socks, which rather paled in comparison to Stebbing’s own fur covered props, but her enthusiasm successfully excited the children.
She was joined by her illustrator, Cate Agnew, and the two were clearly thoroughly enjoying the experience. This event, which seemed to be over almost before it had started, is nothing unusual but it is lovingly carried out and very well-received.