If you've set foot in The Lowry arts centre in Salford in recent months, you will not have failed to notice the impact of a certain Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. The children's book creators' unrivalled body of work has enchanted youngsters over the past 30 years and is now being celebrated throughout the Salford arts venue.

It has meant thousands, and I do mean tens of thousands, of families heading along to The Lowry to enjoy the huge free exhibition celebrating Julia and Axel since it launched in July. It has been a huge hit, and thousands more will no doubt be heading along over the coming days of half-term holidays across the region to enjoy the celebration of the likes of Gruffalo, Zog, Stick Man and the Snail and the Whale.

To complement all this, we have for the half term a new theatrical interpretaion of one of Julia and Axel's more recent hits - the colourful alien adventure The Smeds and The Smoos. It was one of the duo's books magically animated by the BBC at Christmas last year.

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For those who haven't seen the animation, or been reading the story out loud to kids for the past four years, The Smeds and The Smoos is about two rival groups of aliens living on a far-off planet. We are introduced to the Smeds (who are red) and the Smoos (who are blue), brought to life on stage by actors in colourful ensembles, rather than in cartoon form.

The two groups mistrust each other, and the children are told to never play with one another. So what could possibly go wrong when a young Smed and young Smoo fall in love?

Felicia Akin-Tayo as Janet and Tom Capper as Grandfather Smed

When the star-crossed aliens are told they cannot be together by their angry families, they disappear off together. And their panicked families must unite on an epic search of the galaxy to try and find them.

As a stage play for children, the story has much to lend itself to a wild and colourful spectacle with humorous aliens that will keep the youngsters entranced. But for grown-ups too it has the added impact of feeling very relevant to watch fractured societies coming together with love and understanding at the finale.

There is boundless enthusiasm from the cast onstage, in a Tall Stories production that features Felicia Akin-Tayo as Janet, Tom Capper as Grandfather Smed, Robert Penny as Bill and Andrea Sadler as Grandmother Smoo.

Inventive staging in The Smeds and The Smoos

There is fun and inventive staging with such a minimal (and hard-working) cast of four who double up on other roles in the show too. I particularly liked the way they created the rocket that took them off to all the far-flung planets in search of their kids.

Naturally, it's all those colourful aliens on the far-flung planets like Lurglestrop who kind of steal the show though in brilliant puppetry moments. And the adorable baby Smed-Smoo at the end - in his cute purple furry form.

It's performed in a one hour through run, which is just about the right length of time to keep kids entertained before the inevitable "I'm hungry" or "need the toilet" cries begin.

The energetic Smoos

My three-year-old and eight-year-old sat in rapt silence throughout the show, although I think my older boy enjoyed it more and was able to clap along or join in with some of the dancing bits a tad more than the youngest.

And after the show we joined with the masses - and tied in a visit to the free Julia and Axel exhibition too. It made for a great day of half-term entertainment all under one roof.

The Smeds and The Smoos is at The Lowry, Salford until October 29 with performances spread across each day.