Santa Claus and the Great Christmas Caper was created and directed by Kei Bailey, but the whole cast delivered a truly confident performance, with the younger members among the stars of the show.
The first half saw a rapid succession of scene changes as several strands of the story began to take shape, but left the audience guessing as to how they were all going to tie together. Only in the second half did things become clear, with Joanne Moules as evil businesswoman Vespertilla Jinx, revealing her plot to take over Christmas and making loads of money after kidnapping Santa. Full marks to the backstage crew for their quick-fire scene changes.
There were the necessary elements of slapstick thanks to gloomy elf Frosty, played by Craig Pakes, and the deliciously funny and expressive Jo Warrick as Baaa-bara the northern sheep during the dressing up scene and the present wrapping caper.
David O’Brien and Callum Thomas as Jinx’s animal/human cross-breed henchmen raised plenty of laughs too, while Laura Griffin as elf Trixie-Merrymuffin and Callum Thursby as a boisterous tree goblin injected energy aplenty.
There was well-drilled choreography for the dance routines and so many good singers in this music-heavy show, including Colette Buchanan-Gray as Mrs Claus and Paige Ruddlesdin as Mother Nature. But there were some superb vocal turns from the junior members too.
Young Hattie Tacey, as Casey and Charlie Harris as Morgan, deserved their equal billing with the grown-ups that just shows the ongoing benefits of the Little Theatre’s academy.
Genuine stars in the making.
A thoroughly enjoyable night of festive entertainment.