SUNNYSANDS is a great place to be, according to the catchy signature tune of children's TV's favourite Grandpa in My Pocket.
And for this week only, young audiences have been able to soak up the atmosphere of the seaside town for themselves, as the popular show makes the leap from the CBeebies channel to the big stage at Richmond Theatre.
Anyone who is familiar with the show will know it is about the close cross-generational relationship between young Jason Mason and his Grandpa; and the adventures they get up to when Grandpa puts on his magic shrinking cap and shrinks to just a couple of inches high - small enough to get up to all sorts of mischief under the noses of the adults.
As we took our seats I asked my sons aged six and four what they were most looking forward to and both said without hesitation that they wanted to see Grandpa shrink. This was also what I was most curious about: could this central element of the TV show adequately transfer to stage without the camera tricks and computer special effects that are possible with film?
Thankfully the answer is it can and does transfer, with the clever use of puppeteering. As Grandpa runs behind a Sunnysands beach hut at speed, he reappears as a doll and then circles again, emerging as a tiny, though expressive figurine, able to sit in Jason's pocket.
The effects are predictably not as impressive as the TV shrinking, but nevertheless this production by the Nottingham Playhouse is very well done and much enjoyed by the youngsters in the audience - including my two.
Most impressive are the six-strong cast, many of whom take on two and in some cases three roles in order to ensure that as many of the memorable characters from the TV series are present and accounted for; including Mr Liker Biker, Mr Mentor the Inventor, Mr Whoops the clumsy shopkeeper, Miss Smiley the cafe owner, and of course Grandpa's nemesis Great Aunt Loretta - whose distinctive Brummie accent and likeness is convincingly portrayed by Lizzie Franks.
Yet the character switches, although many, are managed with ease and manage to avoid confusing the audience, and the mix of song, humour, and wonderfully named characters and inventions - among them the fantasible treasure finder ensure that the audience leaves with spring in its step and smiles on young faces.
Teamwork is the name of the game, as Jason and his diminutive Grandpa work together to overcome any difficulties they are presented with, and so it is in the stage adaptation. Here, Jason, his sister and other Sunnysands stalwarts accompany Horatio Heave-Ho - a bank manager who fancies himself as a pirate - on a trip across the sea to Bongle Island in search of treasure. But when the gang gets stranded it's up to Jason and Grandpa to save the day.
At 1 hour 55 minutes my wife and I did wonder whether the children would struggle to sit still. However with a well timed interval and a second half that ramps up the excitement, complete with moments of interaction such as Grandpa running through the audience and climbing over the mums and dads, you'll find your time in Sunnysands whizzes by.
The production is on at Richmond Theatre in The Green, Richmond (TW9 IQJ for the benefit of your satnav) with showings at 1pm and 5pm on Saturday September 14, and 11am and 3pm on Sunday 15. For tickets go here .