After 18 years of traditional pantomime at the Mayflower, the staging of Santa Claus - The Musical is a real gamble. Within minutes of this spectacular production, it quickly becomes obvious it’s an inspired choice. This fantastic new musical has just about everything and is proving one of the finest Christmas shows ever seen at this venue. There are stars, great sets, visual delights, instantly effective songs, stunning costumes, dazzling special effects and just about the best sound ever heard in this Southampton venue.
This is a glorious feast of entertainment and the opening company number, with twelve singers and dancers onstage and the orchestra rising from the pit, creates an excitement that never falters. This is a feelgood show from start to finish, with colour, spectacle, exceptional song and dance numbers, enjoyable comedy and a few really touching and emotional moments. The reindeers, penguins, polar bears and crows delight all age groups. Their routines contribute so much to the runaway success of this show.
Roy Barraclough is the perfect Santa Claus and Gary Wilmot has the personality, charisma and experience to shine as his chief elf Joe. This true all-rounder sings well and has written two of the songs.
Anita Dobson is a marvellous Ice Queen, so full of confidence and the real menace to whip up an audience. Her entrances are spectacular and her recurring Ice Theme song is a gem.
The underrated Hilary O’Neil, as Ms Drift, is so important to his show. She sizzles throughout, sings well and makes the most of her comedy opportunities. Helen Anker (Mrs Johnston) makes a real impact and her Happiness duet with Gary Wilmot is a great moment in the show. Completing a brilliant array of principals are Lindsey Wise, as the very appealing Anna Johnson, and Christopher Ryan is a delightful Aggro.
The whole company, which includes the Lindsey Read School of Juveniles, help to make this such a memorable world premiere production. Santa Claus - The Musical will delight audiences all over Britain in the coming years.