There’s a little village, as far north as you can get, occupied by quiet people living quiet lives. They wear brown dresses and black coats. Anxious about tripping as they make their way around, they don’t look up from the floor so only ever see each other’s shoes. Because they don’t look up, they don’t have anything to talk about. So the only soundtrack for this tiny village is their very quiet singing at church on Sunday.

Viola scampers amongst them, bursting with questions. How does a cuttlefish cut? Why is the light darker in winter? Why is the rain clear but the snow white? The villagers quieten her, alarmed when she sings too loudly in church. Viola wishes there was more to life until one day, wandering at the outskirts of the village, she happens upon a very old man, Henri, whose house is full of wonders – including a record player.

Suppose you Had a Portable Gramophone is a compact 45 minute co-production between various Danish theatre companies, writer and artistic director, Bodil Alling‘s Teatret Gruppe 38, Teatret Møllen, teater2tusind and Norwegian Carte Blanche. Classic Danish book and film, Babette’s Feast, provide Alling’s jumping off point. The story’s been overhauled to offer food for thought for a younger audience but fans of the original work will find plenty in there to keep them entertained.

Appropriately enough for a tiny village, the three performers – Alling, Connie Tronbjerg, and Peter Seligmann – use a tiny number of props while sat at a trestle table. Otherwise, there’s little movement. Most of the narrative is delivered through their intimate, expressive storytelling accompanied by a careful soundtrack and precise lighting. The simplicity is gripping and makes the final, magical moments of the feast even more spell-binding.

An unexpected visitor to the tiny village reminds Viola of the things that matter most, turning the whimsical tale into a story about the the joy of sharing and the timeless, transformative power of art.

Suppose you Had a Portable Gramophone is on at the Lyceum’s Studio Theatre until Wednesday and forms part of the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival. The guidance suggests the story works for 8 to 13 year olds but as with the best theatre for children, this much older audience member found it captivating.