Review: Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

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Bloomin’ Christmas!

After its huge success last year Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas returns, don’t miss this warm and funny show packed full of fun and giggles.

Father Christmas awakes from a dream of summer sun only to realise that it’s bloomin’ Christmas Eve and the start of his longest night of the year. He gathers the reindeer and prepares his sleigh, beginning the long journey into the snowy night to deliver presents to sleeping children all over the world. But things don’t run smoothly and he soon encounters soot covered chimneys to squeeze through and treacherous weather conditions, all while plenty of mischief is had by his cheeky pets, Cat and Dog.

Beloved by generations, Briggs’ magical story is brought vividly to life over 40 years after it was first published, using song, live music and playful puppetry. Look out for surprises at every turn in this stunningly visual show with hidden hatches, secret doors and a truly magical set. -West Yorkshire Playhouse.

A West Yorkshire Playhouse, Lyric Hammersmith and Pins and Needles Production

Based on the Book by Raymond Briggs    wyph

Adapted by Pins and Needles Productions

More here and to book tickets… Website

 

My review

It was that time again where all fell silent and the story began down in the depths of the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Not a sound could be heard from adults or children alike. Suddenly an alarm clock rings and disturbs a large figure laying asleep in front of a fire. Twice it rings until the figure moves and who should it be…….Yes its Father Christmas. “Bloomin’ Christmas” you here him say. It’s 24th December and he has to get ready for the busiest night in the year.

Adapted from the story written by Raymond Briggs, it’s a beautiful tale of how Father Christmas delivers all our presents on time. We meet he’s beloved pets Cat and Dog, beautifully  crafted puppets that come to life and cause Father Christmas to shout “Bloomin’ Cat” or “Bloomin’ dog” as they get under his feet as he tries to get ready.

The one thing I have learned this year, is that television and cinema takes so much away from us that we can’t let our imaginations flow, it tells and shows us how things should be. With theatre, it’s almost like a book it allows you to get absorbed in the moment. The scenery is beautiful and like a child playing in a tent, one minute we’re in Father Christmas’s house, the next he’s outside getting the presents ready for the sleigh or tip toeing across the rooftops to deliver presents. Then there is the magical moment when he brings out the sleigh, He slides open a door and its all ready to take off, goggles on, he climbs in and the lights in the room went down and the walls turned into a starry night and silence fell in the room, with a small ‘oooooooh’ & awwwwww’ which could have been me, not sure. 😀 It was so magical, you just felt like you flying with them.

What made it even more magical, not just the superb acting or pupperteering but up in the corner was the musician  Tomas Gisby providing all the music as Father Christmas moved about and the sound effects. The best one being when Father Christmas sat on the toilet and all of a sudden you here ‘PLOP’ it had everyone in giggles. I really didn’t know if I should be keeping an eye on him or the play or try to do both, he was fantastic, from Father Christmas brushing his teeth to getting stuck in the chimney he provided everything.

I loved the fact that we saw how Father Christmas travels and delivers presents, to the sleigh, the climbing of roofs and slipping down cinemas to having a break and eating sandwiches while listening to the radio. And then of course there is Christmas day and what else does Santa have but roast Turkey. And as he’s preparing it a voice popping up from the audience as Father Christmas puts his dinner in the oven ‘That’s not cooked yet’ sending a ripple of giggles from the audience once again.

For me Christmas has been ruined by working in retail, no longer is it about spending time with family and loved ones and eating until you’re stuffed, it’s about getting something for someone just for the sake of giving or because that’s what we’re led to believe, shop workers work longer hours, Christmas starts earlier and earlier each year until everyone is exhausted and hating hearing songs for the umpteenth time so when the big day does arrive we’re to exhausted to care. For me this revived the Christmas spirit in me, it reminded me of Christmas Eve’s spent at my Grandma’s while my Dad went off visiting and we sat and watched Christmas TV especially Santa Claus the movie. So if you’ve lost the Christmas spirit, whether you are young or old, take time this Christmas and go see this play. It will warm the cockles of your hearts right down to your toes.

  Oh and here’s the orignal animated film for the big kids out there 😀

oh and a final thought from Father Christmas

blooming-christmas

Thankyou for reading

xxxx

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