If you're looking for a show that could make Scrooge himself engage with Christmas spirit in June, then Aiden Goatley: 12 Films of Christmas is for you. Using a simple film projector alongside his engaging and comic storytelling skills, Goatley talked us through twelve films that were always shown at Christmas, from his childhood to the present day. This was interspersed with the stories of real life events, which had made these films stick in his mind. This gave the show a beautiful personal touch, and felt like we were with a good friend sharing memories.
Felt like we were with a good friend sharing memories.
The audience attending the show do determine the direction of a lot of the interaction involved here. On this occasion, it was an intimate audience with a split between Christmas enthusiasts, and those who were not aware of some of the films featured due to them not having being born at the time. Despite this, the 12 Films of Christmas ran smoothly and the banter flowed well between Goatley and the audience present.
Goatley mentioned that in order for a Christmas film to work, there were three rules the they had to fall into:
1. It has to capture the spirit of Christmas
2. It has to make you cry, or use the excuse of "too much dust in the air"
3. The Muppets have to be able to do a musical version of the film!
Using these three rules, films such as Home Alone, Die Hard and It's a Wonderful Life were explored with enthusiasm and a childlike wonder as he looked back over Christmases with his unusual family (including a grandmother who went to ridiculous lengths to create the perfect Christmas turkey), as well as the ones he now shares with his wife and adopted daughter.
What was particularly enchanting was that he was very honest with the fact that before he met his wife, he hated Christmas. Thanks to her simple religious belief, and the preparations she undertook on the lead up to the big day, he changed his attitude. It was like watching a Scrooge character change in front of us, which added to the personalised simplicity of the show.
Another highlight that added to the playfulness was the fact that, despite Die Hard not fitting into his first two rules, he managed to pair up suitable Muppets to act out the different roles. This not only provided a different take on the action film, but also added another layer to the charm that Goatley provided in his storytelling.
12 Films of Christmas not only provided some well needed light relief for these uncertain times, but the simplicity of the whole experience added a magical early Christmas spirit to the Brighton Fringe.