Finding Santa

"Frosty fun for families this Christmas"

If you're looking for some frosty family fun this Christmas, then you're in the right place… but where exactly that is, is entirely up to you! The creative team at Little Angel Theatre have designed a show where the audience gets to decide just how the story goes. 

Through the use of large scale interaction, one on one conversations with the elves themselves, and working together as a team, you’ll uncover the answers to some of the most important questions there are about Christmas, including:

  • How do letters for Santa Claus get to the North Pole? 
  • What if something goes wrong along the way? 
  • How will the elves make sure the mail is delivered on time? 

Author of award-winning children's books, Sean Taylor, has written a magical choose-your-own-adventure story filled with quirky characters and loveable puppets, which unfortunately were not as big or bold as you might expect. Unsure if this was down to budgetary or logistical restraints, I would accredit this decision to director Samantha Lane. When compared to other children’s theatre pieces currently playing throughout London, this show sometimes felt lacking in energy or brightness, despite the performers’ enthusiasm.

However the main puppeteer for this performance, Marie Fortune, did provide a lovely variety with their movement skills and characterisation for each of these roles. One of the highlights was the different accents and vocal qualities she used as with only two other actors on stage, the sound ran the risk of becoming a little samey and grating, especially as there is no interval. 

Despite this, the Elves (Noo Stenning and Daniel King) were great at engaging the audience and were clearly comfortable with each other as the on stage ad-libbing ran as smoothly as the scripted dialogue. Sometimes these sections also felt slightly improvised, as there were a few occasions where lines overlapped or jokes took a beat too long to land.

The most impressive department was the scenic design, as the simple set proved to be beautifully versatile, and was only let down by the way these scene changes were facilitated. Unfortunately they became rather predictable and did not add excitement to the show, but detract from the characters’ journey. 

One thing that helped with this was the lighting design and operation; it was done competently and smoothly so made these moments less awkward and gave us a different sensory element to focus on during what sometimes felt like quite a long period of time. 

Lastly, the costuming was a little more than mediocre, consisting mainly of basic clothing paired with a few accessories to demonstrate the characters’ mythical nature. As much as this wasn’t particularly clever, it was definitely fun for the younger audience members as the human-like creatures roamed the auditorium before the show began. It was really lovely to see the kids who connected with the performers mentioned during the piece, including on this occasion a group rendition of Happy Birthday to a young girl in the front row. 

Running only until Christmas Eve at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London, tickets would be a great last minute gift if your little ones are creative, patient, and enjoy heart-warming humour. 

Book here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/event-ticketing/app/?ev=22329

Review written by Katie McConnell

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Photo credit: Ellie Kurttz

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