Review: Naughty Meg and the Christmas Elves, Guildhall Theatre, Derby

Picture by Robert Day

The imaginative Babbling Vagabonds can be relied upon to bring us family entertainment at its best and Naughty Meg and The Christmas Elves is no exception.

The Guildhall Theatre in Derby was ringing to the sounds of ooohs and aaahs as the elves arrived into the auditorium and began chatting with their audience of young schoolchildren.

As they stepped on to the stage to tell their story the little ones sat spellbound waiting for the magic to unfold before them.

Naughty Meg is a young girl who hasn’t been nice all year. She has turned her parents into gibbering wrecks and her neighbours are avoiding her. It is Christmas Eve and Meg is at the top Santa’s Naughty List and destined to be without any presents on Christmas morning.

The elves tell us the story of her life from her birth on a dark stormy night to the day when she has to decide whether being good is much better than being naughty. The question is will she learn her lesson and will she make the right decision?

The Babbling Vagabonds are Mark Hornsey and Tara Hornsey-Saunders, who are the designer makers for the show and Phil Coggins who plays Mr Barnileg, Miss Fenneywhistle and Baxter the elf.

The two other actors brought in to work with him on stage for this production are Emma Bright as Naughty Meg, Mrs Ginnywig and Elsie the elf and Kitty Randle as Mrs Barnileg, the vicar and Chiefie the elf.

All three of them give strong, energetic performances but most importantly they are obviously having fun and enjoying every minute of entertaining the children.

Even though the story has a strong moral tale about the importance of being good and kind to others there are plenty of gags to get the youngsters giggling and of course there is always the chance for a good old sing-a-long.

The use of simple yet effective costumes and props make for a visual treat – the crocheted vacuum cleaner and lamp are certainly a delight. Costumes were by Jane Oldfield and sound by Matt Vale.

If you are after a show which appeals to youngsters then Naughty Meg brought to you by Derby LIVE is the perfect Christmas treat. It is on until December 28 and you can obtain ticket information from