Father Christmas Needs a Wee!

An entertaining pantomime-esque show that is great fun for both adults and children. The show is based on a book of the same name by Nicholas Allan, designed to help children learn to count. From this simple premise, I was surprised to find, wonderful show is launched, that had me laughing, joining in with the song-and-dance numbers, and leaving with a spring in my step.

An excellent romp of a show that had both children and adults laughing along.

Father Christmas’s Head Elf is helping Father Christmas prepare for Christmas Day. She doesn’t want a repeat of last year! Father Christmas is a bumbling honest fool, who sometimes forgets to leave presents behind, and always gets distracted by the food and drink left out for him in each house, leaving him in the titular predicament. Over the course of Christmas Eve, we watch Father Christmas and the Head Elf deliver presents, and encounter challenges along the way.

The two characters in the show were likeable and very well performed. We are firstly introduced to the Head Elf, who is a long-suffering colleague of Father Christmas. She is performed with enough steel to make her handle Father Christmas believably and enough gentleness and comedic ribbing to make her likable. The performance of Father Christmas is excellent and extremely enjoyable to watch, voice and mannerisms completely on point. Both performers rocket around stage with gallons of energy, jumping from dialogue to song and dance numbers.

Music had been worked smoothly into the show. Father Christmas was introduced in a very funky number that had everyone grinning. It was in the songs that you could see the original material most clearly, one song focused on counting the drinks that Father Christmas drank, and getting the audience to join in. Whereas other songs were simply for comic effect, such as the song detailing all the various aquatic things we shouldn’t think about when we need a wee. We had a few dramatic solos that were mocking Christmas number ones. The songs were catchy, I’ve been wandering around singing them.

The audience interaction was marvellous, well thought through and important to the story line. Father Christmas was a veteran ad-libber, cheerfully and confidently managing the audience. He had everyone on his side by the end, all standing up and joining in with dance numbers. The smaller kids really loved the show, and the tricky pre-teens got into it eventually too!

The set was pretty and very versatile, becoming three different locations really easily. The costume and props were simple and effective, with a few surprises. Namely the puppets that occasionally appeared. I now have a new favourite character from Fringe, and it is the tempting cockney mince pie.

This was an excellent romp of a show that had both children and adults laughing along.

Reviews by M Johnson

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The Blurb

At every house Father Christmas eats and drinks the tasty treats that have been left for him. But when he reaches number 10 he realises that he’s forgotten to do something rather important and he really, really, really needs a wee! TaleGate Theatre hit the perfect combination of witty humour, fantastic music and the extra sparkle for which they have become known in this fabulously funny and brilliantly bouncy musical adaptation of Nicholas Allan’s much loved book. ‘Magic, mayhem and mince pies. They’re all here in this musical’ ***** (EdinburghFringe.thepodcastcorner.com).