Articles and Reviews

The Lantern Theatre, 2nd - 4th January 2015

The Snow Queen - Little Pixie Productions for Relative Pitch Opera

Snow Queen at the Lantern yesterday was the highlight of my extensive theatre going over the Festive Season which included some much larger venues and productions - indeed a highlight of the year. So inventive and yet so true to the story. A brilliant adaptation, so imaginatively staged and beautifully performed. I'd usually take 'stunning original music' with a pinch of salt, but it's totally justified - immediately attractive but always fresh... And how many shows do you see where every word of every song is crystal clear? What said it all was that even the tiniest children in the audience were mesmerised and quiet throughout...


Donald Judge


Review from the Buxton Festival Fringe 2012:

The Nightingale of South Bank - Relative Pitch Opera

Buxton Methodist Church Hall

An interesting idea. Instead of a recital with a programme of songs Relative Pitch Opera have put together a short biography of the English singer Florence Easton which included arias that she had sung during her long career. The role of Florence is played by Helena Leonard who has a powerful soprano voice.

Florence must have been a remarkable singer judging from the range of operatic arias that Helena sang. Opening with a formidable piece, "Dich Teure Halle" from Tannhauser ( the first time that we have had Wagner on the Fringe) Helena went on to sing arias from at least eight different operas while donning a range of different garments appropriate to the role she was singing.

Relative Pitch had also managed to create a very pleasant performance space in the somewhat stark atmosphere of the Methodist church hall, by clever use of lighting and a few judiciously arranged props. They had also managed to unearth a wonderful old recording of Florence singing Ave Maria with evocative orchestral portamento.

The one thing Relative Pitch did not have was an orchestra, or indeed any accompaniment. Helena sang to recorded music with the singer having to adjust to the accompaniment rather than the other way round as is usually the case. That she gave such a successful performance suggests that she must have put in a great deal of rehearsal. Could this be the way for more opera to be brought to the Fringe in the future?


Peter Low

Buxton Fringe website reviews


Review from the Buxton Festival Fringe 2011:

Granny's Big Top Tale - Little Pixie Productions

Buxton United Reformed Church Hall and Buxton Methodist Church Hall

The award-winning Little Pixie Productions return to the Fringe this year with a new adventure in the company of Granny Flo and granddaughter Ruby - circus style!

Walking out of the rain into the United Reformed Church, I quickly forgot the downpour and was instead immediately immersed in a sunshiny fête, complete with raffle tickets, Morris men and a gazebo. After winning tickets to the circus in the raffle, Granny Flo reminisced about the circus she went to as a little girl, and how she wanted to be a clown. Nicole Webb (Ruby) and Rebecca Little (Granny Flo) cleverly scene-changed in character - with the pond from the fête becoming a circus trampoline and then a seat for Webb (now playing a young Flo) in the audience.

The recurring message in the play was "if you believe in yourself you can make anything happen", which the young audience lapped up, clearly enjoying being involved with pantomime-style sing-alongs and the old favourite saying-the-magic-word-all-together-to-make-the-magic-happen trick. Even very young children were entertained (with the exception of one small boy who stated quite audibly that he wanted to go home!). It's not surprising the play held the rest of the audience's attention, as it used inventive props and magic tricks, and even some shadow puppetry.

Witty one-liners (e.g. whilst ripping paper as part of a magic trick "don't try this at home - you might get a paper cut!"), slick staging and adept acting combined to make an enjoyable, nostalgic performance enlivened with contemporary cultural references. So "roll up and come into the big top!" on 23rd July (2:30pm to 3:15pm and 4:30pm to 5:15pm) but this time at Buxton Methodist Church.


Annie Osborne

Buxton Fringe website reviews


Review from The Bolxidge Tallygraph 2011 - by Stuart Williams

Turned Out Nice Again!

Bloxwich Library

What can you do in Bloxwich on a sopping wet June Sunday in 2011? Why, go to the seaside in 1938, of course!

And that’s exactly where I and the rest of the audience at Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre yesterday were transported to in a fun-packed hour of sun, sea, sand and silly songs presented by Little Pixie Productions of Derby.

Set in the fictional northern seaside town of Darley-on-Sea, ‘Turned out Nice Again!’ begins with the two stars, Rebecca Little and Nicole Webb, providing their own warm-up act as the audience enters the theatre to take their seats - which in this 1930s-style seaside review pass as deckchairs on the beach - dressed as beach attendants Horace and Harold. This daft (in a good way!) pair proceed to hand out deckchair tickets to all the audience, making merry quips as they go, until the last person has sat down and the show proper is ready to go.

Harold and Horace repair to the stage, which is decked-out as a little bit of beach with various seaside accoutrements, for a jolly tea break, going through a number of comical routines to set the scene by reading the story of the unclaimed Darley Golden Trophy. They then transform, as if by magic, into Granny Flo and young Ruby, who, now in Granny’s living room, begin rummaging through a box of Flo’s seaside memories from the late 1930s, when she was but a lass.

In this box, amongst shells, sea-sounds and sand, they discover a mysterious, cryptic postcard from 1938 which is to lead them to adventure.  And so the real story begins, as their, and our, imaginations become a time-machine whisking us away to happier, simpler days of the kind we all remember from the long, hot summers of our youth.

The rest of the show leads us, too, on their voyage of discovery as before long Granny and Ruby are acting out a trip to the seaside and embarking on the adventure promised in the postcard, in the process turning a small Bloxwich stage into a musical seaside town of the past, where literally anything is possible, as a twist at the end reveals…

This is a super little show, quite literally summer fun for all ages, and can bring sea-breezes and sunshine to any audience, even if the rain is hammering down outside. The audience is cleverly drawn in and encouraged to join in with actions and sounds at several points, and there is a genuine surprise for one member of the audience. 

Love and laughter shine out from the delightful and polished performances of Rebecca ‘Becky’ Little as Granny Flo, and Nicole Webb as Ruby, who never put a foot wrong, even when dancing with deckchairs!  A fine musical backdrop plus evocative scenery and well-chosen props put the whole show properly in its place.

Afterwards, there was also an opportunity for the children to investigate the props that were used in the show, and take a seaside photo. And here’s a tip: hang onto your deckchair ticket!

I can safely say that this was the best soggy Sunday I’ve had this century - and well worth the price of admission, deckchair and all.  Fun, frolics and great comic acting. Music, madness and jolly japes, 1930s-style.  For once, it really did turn out nice again in Bloxwich!

Little Pixie Productions easily won the Best Family Event award at the Buxton Festival Fringe in 2009 with the very popular "What Became of the Red Shoes?" and followed up with Best Show for Families there in 2010,  with the sequel ‘Turned Out Nice Again!’ 

I hope I have a future opportunity to see part three, ‘Granny’s Big Top Tale’, which debuts on 17 July at Buxton United Reformed Church Hall and on 23 July at Buxton Methodist Church Hall - Tel 0845 127 2190 or 07932 941576 for details.

For more about Little Pixie Productions, check out their excellent website:

And for more iPhone pix of Sunday’s production, follow this link: Show PixWATCH OUT FOR SPOILERS!

This show was presented by Bloxwich Library Forum and hosted by Bloxwich Library, with the considerable support of Black Country Touring, without whom the show would not have been possible:



Review from the Buxton Festival Fringe 2010:

Turned Out Nice Again! - Little Pixie Productions

Buxton United Reformed Church Hall and Buxton Methodist Church Hall

Little Pixie productions romped away with the Best Family Show in 2009 with the very popular "What Became of the Red Shoes?" and now they're back with an all new adventure featuring Granny and Ruby as they head off to the seaside at Darley-on-Sea.

The story is beautifully nested within different layers as two deckchair attendants, Horace and Harold, take a tea break and read the story of the unclaimed Darley Golden Trophy. As they do they move into character as Granny and Ruby who are talking about Granny's trips to the seaside in her youth and discovering a mysterious cryptic postcard from 1938. Before long Granny and Ruby are acting out a trip to the seaside and embarking on the adventure promised in the postcard.

This time round there is a second actor, Claire Lever, bringing Ruby to life and joining Rebecca Little as Granny, and they produce a show that is consistently inventive and entertaining. There's so much good stuff going on its hard to pick anything out, but we loved the routine as the cleverly designed set was changed from Granny's living room to the seaside, the fun with the deckchairs and the miming of all the funfair rides. The kids (from two to, ahem, considerably older) needed absolutely no encouragement to join in with the actions in the song about paddling in the sea - so maybe we could have more audience interaction?

No opportunity to entertain is missed and the show is wonderfully thought through from beginning to end. On entering the room we were greeted by the two actors as Horace and Harold who gave us tickets for our deckchairs (and make sure you hold on to them!), and afterwards there's an opportunity for the children to investigate the props that were used in the show.

This is an absolutely charming show - we loved it, my son was riveted and I couldn't stop smiling - it's perfect for families and younger children.


Steve Walker

Buxton Fringe website reviews


Review from the Buxton Festival Fringe 2009:

What Became of the Red Shoes? - Little Pixie Productions

Buxton Methodist Church Hall

This show is one for the youngsters and their parents. It tells the story of Ruby and her imaginative travels using items found in her Grandmother's attic.

The story is simple enough for the youngest audience to follow the storyline and has a smattering of reminders of their childhood for the adults. It kept my toddler's attention for the most part and there are elements of participation should your attention begin to wane!

Rebecca Little plays both Ruby and Flo, her grandmother, with energy and enthusiasm. The set is imaginatively designed and the sound effects add to the overall feel of the piece.

The show is on over this weekend and if you are looking to entertain your younger children this Fringe, then try this.


Ian Heath

Buxton Fringe website reviews


Review from the Buxton Festival Fringe 2009:

Operatastic! The Accessible Guide to Opera - Little Pixie Productions for Relative Pitch Opera

Buxton Methodist Church 

This is a guide to the opera by Relative Pitch Opera, designed to make opera accessible to all. To do this they have selected a number of famous arias and duets. This is interspersed with an explanation of opera and the pieces themselves. The acoustic in the Methodist church was excellent, a suitably dramatic setting.

The evening commenced with a piano introduction, followed by a short spoken introduction to opera presented by an actor, Katherine Oliver.

We were then taken on a journey through opera, with Katherine as our guide. The examples of operatic arias and duets were carefully selected to give a range of composers and styles. Katherine's commentary between the numbers provided easy access to the opera.

The highlights and arias were sung by Helena Leonard Soprano, and Terence Robertson, Tenor, with piano accompaniment by Carl Penlington-Williams. I particularly enjoyed the love duet from Madame Butterfly by Puccini. a moving rendition which demonstrated both the singers and the accompanist's skills.

Their excellent voices which could fill the church with ease and gave a clear feeling of the power, attraction and drama of opera.

In order to help the audience to relate to the operatic pieces, examples were demonstrated in song of the use of opera in soap opera, advertising and film.

This is an easy and enjoyable way for those who are unfamiliar with opera to learn about opera and enjoy some great arias and duets.


Mike Rose

Buxton Fringe website reviews


From the Buxton Festival Fringe 2010 Blog:

Nice Again

Shows listed under "For Families" in the Fringe programme are sometimes passed by by people who haven't got young children. A great shame, then, if you've overlooked Turned Out Nice Again which is at the Buxton Methodist Church - final performances on 24th July.

Buxton Festival Fringe 2010 Blog


From the Buxton Festival Fringe 2009 Blog:

Excerpt from Squeaky B** Time

...Well it's now the sharp end of the Fringe - just seven more days and the last chance to catch some shows. Choose carefully, choose well and get out there - don't find yourself regretting what you may have missed. We tipped you off about What became of the red shoes? for example - it was great, but is now finished.

Anyway in no particular order some of the final week's highlights include:

...Thursday-Saturday - Operatastic - opera highlights (p12)...

Published Date: 20/07/2009

Buxton Festival Fringe 2009 Blog


From the Buxton Festival Fringe 2009 Blog:

Pixies at the Opera

Two companies new to the Fringe this year are Little Pixie Productions and Relative Pitch Opera. They have at least one thing (or rather person) in common - Rebecca Little. Rebecca has been talking to Keith Savage about the companies and the productions she is bring to the Fringe.

"Little Pixie Productions is based in Derby although my co artistic director, Vicky, is based in Buckinghamshire. We are a brand new company - formed at the beginning of the year, although we have a wealth of experience between us, especially in theatre for families. These two shows are the first that we have produced on our own, but we have already co-produced with a company called Pocket Panto -

"I have been a professional actor for 14 years mainly in musical theatre and family theatre for well-established companies such as Tutti Frutti and Kinetic Theatre, also repertory theatre around the country (you can usually catch me at the Nottingham Playhouse every year in their Pantomime!). My co artistic director is my sister Vicky who after initially performing, retrained at the Laban Centre in Community Dance and Movement going on to teach dance in various forms especially within the special needs spectrum.

"We are dedicated to taking original writing and productions out into the community and rural areas, believing that everybody should be given access to live theatre and music performances."

What became of the red shoes? tells the story of a child's explorations in Granny's attic. How did this piece come about? "Vicky and I have written the show, inspired by the original Hans Christian Anderson story and the famous 1948 film The Red Shoes directed by Michael Powell. We also took a look at other genres that have influenced us as performers, mainly the Hollywood MGM musicals and performers such as Gene Kelly, put all these sources together, shook them up and saw what came out of it all! But mainly it is a piece of contemporary writing that connects with young people showing how they perhaps don't need to rely on gadgetry as a form of entertainment, using everyday objects that spark their imaginations to go on incredible journeys.

"The audience get to go on that journey with Ruby the child and they do get to meet Granny as well as a whole host of other characters, not all of whom are human! It's a 45 minute piece all played out by just one performer, which happens to be me! Granny however, does get to be the star of the show - but you'll have to come and watch to find out why!

"We think that in order to involve the children you need to quite simply captivate them through good strong storytelling, you don't necessarily need an all-singing, all-dancing set or productions with whizzes & bangs to keep them interested. You also need to give them some sort of participation, which we have also included in the show. I guess this comes from my strong Pantomime background. We have designed our show in such a way that we will be inviting audience members to sit at floor level with us, if they wish, so they feel a part of the experience and we don't mind if some of the younger audience members are a bit lively and don't sit still in the conventional theatrical way, we would much rather they felt free to express their enjoyment. Although advertised at 3+ it really is a show that all ages can enjoy together and has as much in it for the children as the adults.

"I suppose our logo is quite girly but we haven't found any difference in response between girls and boys to it. Obviously this is our first solo show so it will be interesting to see if girls respond in a different way to boys, although our poster and flier design for Red Shoes is definitely neutral I think."

Operatastic! is advertised as suitable for opera virgins and opera aficionados alike. What about opera sceptics who think the whole thing is overblown? "Opera, overblown eh? Well I guess what we are trying to do with Operatastic! is to give the audience the experience of hearing opera sung fantastically well, with a live musician but without the perceived stuffiness that turns some people away from it. As my husband who is trying to 'get in to opera' says - 'this show is great for people who may have heard the odd tune on the radio and wants to learn more but would feel slightly out of depth turning up to the Royal Opera House!' We hope the informality and stripped back directness of the show will help introduce people to the themes and stories in opera whilst the more opera savvy audience members will enjoy the fantastic vocal talents of the performers in an intimate setting.

"Some of the programme may have what you could call 'a greatest hits' factor, but a sizeable portion of it will contain arias that perhaps only the opera purists will be familiar with. I think it will appeal to both experts and novices as on the night they will be performed by two wonderful opera singers, who have both performed extensively with many major opera companies around the country such as Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera and English National Opera to name but a few, accompanied by an up and coming pianist and conductor who’s reputation is growing quickly in the opera world. What we are not going to do is dumb down this art form but rather give new audiences a guiding hand into a new musical world. It’s exactly what it says on the tin - an 'Accessible Guide to Opera'.

"The show is two hours but that does include an interval of 15 - 20 minutes, so it runs at the same length as most classical concerts would run at and a fair bit shorter than a Wagnerian 3 act opera! We have also added an actor to the show, to help the evening along, so if you were to attend, you may learn an interesting fact about a particular opera or composer or why they were written and what they have influenced since.

"We called our classical musical division Relative Pitch Opera because one of the singers in Operatastic! is another sister (would you believe it and no, we are not the Family Von Trapp! Coming from a large theatrical family there may be other family members involved also, but that's a whole other story!). Relative Pitch is a play on words for the three of us sisters being relatives to each other but also to the musical terminology Relative Pitch."

What became of the red shoes? is being performed at the Methodist Church 17-19 July, 2.30-3.15pm. Operatastic! is at the same venue on 23-24 July, 7.30-9.30 and again on 25th, 2.30-4.30.

Published Date: 20/06/2009