THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
by Ben Glasstone and Tim Kane music and lyrics by Ben Glasstone.
Little Angel Theatre 14 Dagmar Passage, off Cross Street Islington N1 2DN To 5 January 2014.
2pm 27-30 Dec, 3, 4, 5 Jan.
4.30pm 27-30 Dec, 3, 4, 5 Jan.
7pm 28, 29 Dec, 4, 5 Jan.
Baby Friendly Performances (no age restriction) 29 Dec 4.30pm, 4 Jan 4.30pm.
Runs 1hr 5min No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7226 1787.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 20 December.
Another Little Angel mix of humour, story and theatrical wonder.
Ah, Christmas time! The calendar’s capital for murder, divorce and family arguments. Putting a group of people together who get on up to 363 days a year without meeting in concentrated mass is asking for trouble as well as joy. And it takes only the tiniest of nuclear family members to being about a disturbance with a nuclear impact.
In this show for 3+, Lara and young brother Jake row as Christmas Eve closes. Tempers rise, including mother’s, who’s busy preparing for the busy day ahead. The very presence of Christmas at their home in Hemel Hempstead is threatened.
Mother, of course, threatens to tell Santa to forget it for them this year, but doesn’t. Determined not to give way, Lara does and her letter floats off, flying-carpet like, towards the all-important sleigh.
At which point, there has to be a worry for the future of such shows. How, after all, could theatre have presented the incident had Santa Claus given out his e-mail address?
On the other hand, a SatNav might have helped. Setting off from the North Pole, by the time he should have been hitting the Paris chimneys Santa finds the reindeer have taken a wrong turning and brought him to the South Pole.
Hardly surprising when one reindeer’s named Dancer and (possibly in solidarity with the hero of the Little Angel’s other Christmas show Dogs Don’t Do Ballet) likes to step-out in the light fantastic.
If mother in Hemel’s frustrated, so’s Father in Antarctica as he gives all the reindeer the rest of the night off and cancels Christmas.
No, of course it can’t. End there, that is. Lara realises what she’s done and sends a recantation. Santa’s had time to think again and all ends happily. And – look – at least an hour’s gone and we never noticed. After an awkward opening when it seemed the performers weren’t going to give the puppets much of a look-in, the characters slide into bed, the puppets take over. Fine-looking creations, expertly handled as the story’s fluidly told, with songs for the journey, it’s another big Little Angel delight.
Puppeteers: Michael Brett, Ruth Calkin, Clare Pointing.
Director: Ben Glasstone.
Designer: Michael Fowkes.
Lighting: David Duffy.