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Review: Get Santa! at Newcastle Northern Stage
Being Normal Isn’t Normal!
Newcastle Northern Stage
Until Saturday 27th December 2014.
Poor ten year old Holly doesn’t want presents for Christmas, so she writes to Santa to tell him. All that she wants is to see her real Dad, the one who gave her a big teddy bear to look after. She has been really good all year, unlike the lad at school who flooded the toilets. Holly also wants to meet Santa so she hatches a plan.
Northern Stage don’t put on a traditional pantomime at Christmas, rather, they put on a couple of plays for children, and this year Get Santa is for the over 7s. whilst there is no shriek of “It’s behind you” and rapid puns, there is still a healthy mixture of laughs, slapstick and music to keep the young entertained. Director Lorne Campbell has done a cracking job of producing a play which had the full house smiling.
Tessa Parr is immediately engaging with the audience, as the young Holly, and shares a number of the early chuckles with Gary Kitching, who plays her step Dad. Anthony Neilson and Nick Powell set up a less than conventional story as Holly’s step Dad is a dog who thinks it is normal to decorate a tree with meat and sausages. Her Gran, played by Jane Holman, tries to explain that no family is normal before breaking into song about how she doesn’t care what people say. Not batting an eyelid throughout the show is Paula Penman as Holly’s Mum.
The set design is a cross between a living room and an advent calendar. This gives a number of handy windows for the chorus, dressed up as snowmen, to appear. The snowmen may have resembled the Canadians in the South Park Movie but they added a seasonal feel to the show when they appeared.
When Christmas comes Santa (James Ryland), his son Bumblehole (Tom Walton) and her favourite Teddy (Scott Turnbull) get involved as the plot twists and turns. The children in the audience were captivated as the narrative unfolded. The cliff hanger at the interval was a nice touch. The music from Aly Macrae fits in nicely with the tempo of the show.
Northern Stage have a Christmas show that they can be proud which leaves the audience, both young and old, feeling happy and in the Christmas spirit. Tessa is wonderful as the young naïve Holly and there is no weak link in the rest of the cast. Perhaps a bigger role could have been given to Gary Kitching with his natural comic timing but that is a minor quibble.
This is a warm, friendly Christmas show which shows everyone that weird is normal and left the audience grinning.
This review was written by Stephen Oliver for Jowheretogo PR (www.jowheretogo.com). Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook www.facebook.com/Jowheretogo.
Get Santa!Mon 1 – Sat 27 Dec
Tickets: £24 / £19.50 / £14.50, under 21s £12 Special Deals: Families: Family of 4 - £60 for selected performances (see website) Multibuy: Buy at the same time as other shows to recieve a discount - see multibuy website
A jolly Christmas play full of songs, slapstick, puppetry and fun for children aged 7 and over and their families.