Bloomin’ Christmas! 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. As he gathers the reindeer and prepares his sleigh, Father Christmas begins 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 and treacherous weather conditions, meanwhile plenty of mischief is being had by his cheeky pets, Cat and Dog.
It’s hard to believe that Raymond Briggs created his irreverent version of Father Christmas over 40 years ago, especially as it feels at once fresh and fun, as well as established and traditional in this gloriously visual show.
Seamus O’Neill once again ably embodies the hero of the season. Bluff and gruff, yet calm and collected; Father Christmas allows us a peek into his big day as he wakes, plays with his cat and dog, eats and prepares his reindeer and sled so that he can fulfill his annual task – to bring joy to children the world over.
Father Christmas is surrounded by the most wonderful puppets – brought to life by Clare Rebekah Pointing. Nimble and with an uncanny knack for *sounding* just like her creations – every glimpse of the lifelike (bloomin’) cat, (bloomin’)dog, reindeer and (especially the brief cameo by the) hen – is a delight.
However, the highlight of this production for me was the show within the show – the inclusion of Tomas Gisby on stage in a wonderful magical observation point. Being able to watch as the musical director worked in parallel with Father Christmas to produce the sounds of the show was fascinating and occasionally hilarious. Gisby has an incredibly expressive face and watching his reactions – from drinking, to preparing the sled to…more mundane ablutions (‘plop’) was an absolute joy.
Advertised as a production that caters for those of 2-6 years; this 30…something year old can attest that this show enchants and captivates a variety of age groups. My two friends and I were as caught up as of the younger audience…and – every now again – possibly a little bit more!
As an introduction to the theatre; this definitely seemed to capture the imaginations of those around us. I’d certainly recommend it to the very young…and the young at heart!
Adapted by Pins and Needles Production from the novel by Raymond Briggs
Musical Director: Tomas Gisby
Director: Emma Earle
Father Christmas at the West Yorkshire Playhouse
Buy tickets HERE