THERE'S a rather lovely celebration of play and imagination at the heart of the Lyceum's Christmas show this year.

This is established from the outset, as Sophie - much-loved daughter and definitely not an orphan - receives a copy of her favourite book for her birthday, Roald Dahl's The BFG, and persuades her pals, big brother and parents to act out the story using her dressing-up box.

It's a neat way to overcome the technical challenge of having a convincing giant on a live-action stage. For most of the first half, real-life Sophie (Robyn Milne) manipulates a doll-sized Sophie, as the little girl is whisked off to Giant Country by the big-lugged BFG (Lewis Howden, whose accent, travelling from Wales to the Hebrides via Calcutta, is as jumbled as the BFG's gobblefunking, whizzpopping language).

A human-sized Sophie interacts with a massive puppet BFG after the interval, as our heroes try to save the "human beans" of England from being eaten by visiting the Queen (Claire Knight) in Buckingham Palace. The action switches easily between storytelling styles and is swallowed wholesale by its audience of age five upwards.

A boisterous sense of make-it-up-as-we-go-along pulls the show through its first half, where David Wood's adaptation of Dahl's book doesn't leave director Andrew Panton much narrative to work with. Throughout, the interjected songs are familiar enough (The Hokey Cokey, a Christmas medley coda) but somehow don't encourage participation in their rather shouty renditions.

Becky Minto's designs are the stars of the show, however. Even the littlest ones in the audience won't be scared by giants called Bonecruncher and Fleshlumpeater if they're costumed in colourful onesies and silly hats. And her vision of the BFG's collection of bottled dreams - part sweet shop, part stained-glass window - is a thing of beauty in itself.