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59 Minutes to Save Christmas

Published Tuesday 18 December 2012 at 10:12 by Ronnie Haydon

Leeds-based Slung Low have a reputation for creating theatrical adventures in unusual places. Their Christmas special for over-sevens has families join a frantic route march all over the Barbican Centre, in a bid to foil a professor bent on seasonal sabotage.

A scene from 59 Minutes To Save Christmas at the Barbican, London

A scene from 59 Minutes To Save Christmas at the Barbican, London Photo: Tristram Kenton

Audience members embarking on this mission against the clock are kitted out with headphones - a high-tech touch that has a pleasingly anti-panto effect: there’s no need for anyone to shout. So while we shuffle along in the performers’ wake as the newest recruits in the Royal Christmas Brigade, the bustle of the Barbican foyer adds to the drama. Children focused on their instructions to create inspiring decorations to win over Fairy Lala at the top of a very tall Christmas tree, or caper excitedly after pink clouds of Professor Meanwood’s Christmas-spirit-sapping potion (played by dry ice), also delight in being part of a wider spectacle.

The public looks on as a remote-controlled-Christmas tree exits through the cafe pursued, then wrestled to the ground, by a hapless footsoldier in a bauble-festooned uniform. Everyone stops to listen as the children serenade a confused snowman with a lusty round of Jingle Bells. Fast-paced, innovative and utterly involving, this is immersive theatre in its purest form.

Production information

Barbican, London, December 15-January 6

Slung Low Theatre Company
Alan Lane
Cast includes:
Seamus Allen, Naveed Khan, Nicola Miles-Wildin, Philip Pellew, Oliver Senton, Lizzie Wiggs
Running time:

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014