TaleGate Theatre have adapted Nicholas Allan's beloved children's book into a new funny and energetic musical, which ticks all the boxes for a children's show, apart from the fact that it is a little odd to have a Christmas-themed show in the middle of August.
The show features a brilliantly Northern-sounding Father Christmas and a head elf, known as Elfie, who insists upon accompanying Father Christmas on his around-the-world journey on Christmas Eve, in order to make sure that he delivers all the presents on time and doesn't get caught up in eating and drinking the tasty treats that have been left for him by children, as he is known to do. Along the way, the pair encounter a talking mince pie (Mincie-P), a scary guard dog and a little girl named Holly, who is supposed to be in bed!
Kate Lindsey and James Worthington, who took on the considerable responsibility of adapting this recent children's classic, have done well. With a whole host of catchy and memorable songs and plenty of jokes that the grown-ups can also enjoy, this show is great fun for even the youngest of children. The set is incredibly intricate and bright, and the costumes are festive and fun.
The main issue with performing this show at the Fringe is that it is a Christmas story, which relies a great deal upon children feeling the Christmas excitement and anticipation. A Santa-centred show wouldn't always be entirely out of the question for a summer arts festival; for example, an adaptation of Raymond Brigg's much-loved children's book Father Christmas Goes on Holiday would have worked very well.
However, despite this slight drawback, this is a show that kids and parents alike will love; the warmth of the performers was very apparent and their excitement engaged the children for the entirety of the performance.