The Lost Library of Spitalfields Market, Greenhouse Theatre, stage review: ‘A seasonal fairy tale for all ages’

Ronay Poole and Eoin Lynch as Isla and Max. Photograph: courtesy Greenhouse Theatre

Long winter nights are the ideal time for storytelling.

Whether the tale is heart-rending, horrifying or hilarious, narrative creates ties that are a perfect antidote to hibernal chill.

Fitting, then, that the Greenhouse Theatre should have chosen story-giving as the theme of its pop-up Christmas play, The Lost Library of Spitalfields Market.

Wandering in search of a present for her mother, young Isla (Ronay Poole) happens upon what appears to be a shop.

There she meets a forlorn older man called Max (Eoin Lynch), who clearly has little human contact.

Gradually, through accounts of their own suffering, the two form an unlikely bond.

Written and directed by Oli Savage, this seasonal fairy tale is suited to audiences of all ages.

The Greenhouse Theatre is the UK’s first zero-waste theatre, and the value of intangible gifts is a subtext that will resonate at a time when rooms tend to fill with plastic packaging and throw-away wrapping paper.

For the less literal, The Lost Library of Spitalfields Market is a variation on the age-old theme of what Christmas is all about: human warmth.

The Lost Library of Spitalfields Market runs from 1-24 December at The Greenhouse Theatre, 8 Market Street, Spitalfields Market, E1 6DT.