Bold, imaginative and innovative in production terms, this show, adapted from the book by Raymond Briggs, is a three hander telling the tale of the biggest day in the year of Father Christmas. It contains lashings of admirable input in the design and illustration field by Zoe Squire.
Our red-suited and booted hero wakes on Christmas Eve and sets about his ablutions. Planning his holidays while sitting on the toilet, we discover that Father Christmas has a dog and cat, as well as the creatures with antlers which propel his sleigh.
From an arctic igloo to the space shuttle Father Christmas, played with admirable skill by Seamus O’Neill, delivers all the presents at breakneck speed. Pausing only for the odd biscuit and a rooftop boogie, Father Christmas is watched from afar and aided with music and a plethora of sound effects by musician Naomi Lee Schulke. The short, one act running time is presumably designed in order to retain the attention span of the very young. However, the simple fact is this is a gold nugget of a spectacle and a charming experience for any audience member who still appreciates this magical time of year.
Puppeteer Annie Brooks works hard and with immense skill to bring the pets to life. When the big moment comes and the reindeers set off on their journey, the look of pure wonderment on the little faces in the audience spoke volumes on what Christmas is all about.