(reviewed at the Watford Colosseum on 4 December 2015)
What do you do for a Christmas show if your children are just that bit too young to enjoy a traditional, full-length pantomime. The Watford Colosseum found a solution last year, and the same team is back with a follow-up show. Santa Claus and the Magical Christmas Journey takes place a year after last year’s adventure.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has been safely corralled. The trouble this time that ever-helpful bear Muffin (who tracked down Rudolph when he went missing) has been sidelined in favour of santa-nav (the voice of Russell Grant). If your sat-nav is as provoking as mine, you can guess that things aren’t going to progress smoothly for Christmas gift deliveries.
Santa (Paul Aitchison) has two helper elves. Charlie (Dan Burgess) is the inquisitive one who Kara (Hannah Nuttall) more-or-less keeps in check. The sleigh in Rebecca Stoll’s staging is a fine thing on a revolve and there are some excellent lighting and special effects (the snow is a particular favourite).
There’s a lot of opportunity for singing along and some subtle messages as well. it’s an excellent introduction to the magic of theatre and the small carpeted and gently lit studio space means that there is nothing frightening for the smallest ones. Just a touch of magic – and we all need that at Christmas.
Santa Claus and the Magical Christmas Journey is at the Watford Colosseum until 24 December.