WHAT glorious nonsense! Andrew Pollard has adapted the nonsense writings of Edward Lear for the world premiere of The Hunt For The Scroobious Pip, a most delightful family show for three-year- olds and upwards – and a not-so-guilty pleasure for adults who enjoy the madness of this Lear as much as that of King Lear.

Pollard and director Adam Sunderland have a track record for their children’s shows for Halifax company Northern Broadsides, acquiring a following at the Stephen Joseph Theatre with The Water Babies, Heidi – A Goat’s Tale and Treasure Island. Now they have cut the Broadsides umbilical cord to mount their own Christmas production for the SJT for the first time and it is very much a case of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

A tall gent enters in a hat, or, rather, a flamboyant hat enters attached to a tall gent in a long coat. He starts drawing upward shapes with chalk, first on one box and then another, and finally on a board that, when lit by lighting designer Paul Stear, magically becomes the Crumpety Tree. The gent draws a hook, and promptly hangs his coat on it – one of those How-did-he-do that? stage effects that instantly has the children equally hooked.

He introduces himself as Mr Quangle Wangle Quee (the gangly Philip Pellew), who lives in the aforementioned tree, savouring the crumpets it grows each day at three with a smearing of smug jam. Yet he is not a happy playing second fiddle to his spectacular straw hat and so he vows to hunt for the weird and elusive Scroobious Pip to make his name.

Soon he is aided and sometimes annoyed on his crusade by the Jumbly Boy (Matt Connor) and the Jumbly Girl (Lindsay Allen), those unforgettable Lear creations with the green hair, blue hands and sieve mode of nautical transportation. Being Jumblies, of course, they are weighed down with a pram load of jumble, a ready source for impromptu props, such as two lemons and a pipe for the Dong With The Luminous Nose.

Nothing is more important however than the chalkboards, such a simple yet effective way of creating scenery by drawing, erasing and drawing it again, in a nod to Lear’s gifts as a sketcher and painter. Wittily too, designer Michael Roberts matches this black-and-white scenery with black clothing and thick white stitching and pockets for the Jumblies.

The show is full of such inspired nonsense, from Lear’s made-up wordplay to the Jumblies’ cookery demonstration and the music of Kieran Buckeridge, whose Pie Song about magpie pie is performed as if by a Forties’ harmony group with a microphone improvised from a magnifying glass and a sieve.

Silly, absurd and very British entertainment, Scroobious Pip harks back to the daft days of Victorian music hall and is a joy from start to finish. Chalk it up as another success for the Sunderland & Pollard partnership.

The Hunt For The Scroobious Pip, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, until December 24. Box office: 01723 370541.