Reviewed – 15th December 2018
“Madcap and chaotic, it’s a jumbled mess of fun and frivolity”
Ahh Christmas… Such a magical time. Especially for young children. Where excitement of glimpsing Father Christmas and his reindeer or waking up to find the toy you’ve really wanted is under the tree, is too much to contain. Christmas Tales, a festive version of the Chickenshed’s popular puppetry-based show, Tales From The Shed, helps to bring all the fun and joy of yuletide to life with plenty of songs, dancing and colourful puppets to entertain the little’uns, and some big adults too!
Based around a very loose retelling of A Christmas Carol (which is actually the main Christmas production at the Chickenshed this year) this is a more young child-friendly version. There’s still the miserable Scrooge who the rest of the ensemble, and presenters Tom and Tia are trying to persuade to lighten up and get into the Christmas spirit. To lose the scare factor, rather than being visited by three ghosts, Scrooge is called upon by three furry, worm-like creatures known as ‘Blurs’, who help to remind him why he should love Christmas.
The story goes off on a bit of a tangent to include characters such as Baah Humbug the sheep, a yellow bear, monkeys, as well as a visit from Mr You Know Who and his reindeer. Not quite A Christmas Carol as I remember it! But these charming additional faces are great for the kids (even if the sight of Father Christmas did make the little boy next to me cry!).
The stage is fairly bare, but the brightly clothed cast and puppets, bursting with fizzy energy is enough festive stimulus for the eyes to feast on. The finale with fake snow a-falling really captures the children’s imaginations.
The two musicians in the corner playing guitar and piano help to bring the piece together. A particularly great idea is having them singing a song as the audience is settling into their seats. This means the kids are engaged the minute they’re in the theatre.
Madcap and chaotic, it’s a jumbled mess of fun and frivolity that is so charming it will melt even the frostiest of Xmas-hating hearts. Friendly, interactive and inclusive for all, especially those with special needs, it will leave the kids singing and dancing all the way home.
Reviewed by Phoebe Cole
Chickenshed Theatre until 30th December
Previously reviewed at this venue: