If anywhere could do with a dose of theatrical childlike wonder, it’s Cowley’s Templars Square. You wander in, past the knarly derelict pub, through a haze of pungent smoke whatever the time of day, and it all feels a bit... bleak.

So you could spot the mums wandering about the shopping precinct, looking for Ready Steady Colour, from a mile off. We had hope on our faces, for a start, even if it was tinged with confusion.

Dutifully following the trail of posters, we found the scene, conjured up by artist Anna Bruder. Ready Steady Colour is billed as an interactive family performance, part of Oxford Playhouse’s Plays Out series.

Entering one of Anna’s sets is liberating. Her trademark, with A Line Art, is to plaster a space with paper, which is covered in crayon-scribbled versions of the scene. In this case, the retail unit was now a blank canvas, surfaces layered with pictures of meals, tables, condiments and cutlery.

My six-year-old and I felt like we’d stepped into Mr Greedy’s world as Anna (AKA Head Chef) showed us to a table. She has been making props and sets for West End shows for more than a decade and the effect of her work is joyful.

The concept is simple: we’re in a restaurant and the waiters bowl over customers with huge dollops of enthusiasm. Spicing things up by singing, taking make-believe orders and the odd kiddie-friendly rude joke, Arj Manuelpillai and Robin Hemmings were a hit. Amber and I watched Robin dazzle us as a guitar-swinging postman in the Story Museum’s Christmas show and both he and Arji have a knack for a tune, as well as a way with children that I’d like to bottle.

We’re armed with ketchup (red paint), mustard (yellow), garlic sauce (glue) and salt (glitter) to season our meals, while Arji and Robin lark about telling the story.

No strict formula, just a good atmosphere and 50 minutes of playing with our food. Amber proudly carried her pizza box creation home and asked for a second helping.