1-27 December 2014
Reviewed by Diane Wilkinson
I took my 8-year old daughter to see Northern Stage’s production of “Get Santa” on Friday 12th December (Newcastle upon Tyne). Although the city was busy with Christmas shoppers and partygoers we managed to easily find a parking space in the nearby Civic Centre which is only a 5-minute walk to the theatre in the grounds of the Newcastle University city campus. The theatre itself was buzzing with people enjoying food and drinks as well as those attending the performance but we were quickly and efficiently given our pre-ordered tickets and directed to our seat by smiling staff.
The show is recommended for children aged 7+ but there were a few younger ones and lots of families with grandparents too. It is a difficult feat to please such a wide age-range but this production did not disappoint! The story follows 10 year-old Holly Finnigan who declares right at the beginning that “Christmas is rubbish!” and proceeds to let us know her madcap plan to trap Santa so that she can finally get the only thing she has ever asked for – to meet her real father. Actress Tessa Parr perfectly captures the character of the disgruntled Holly, whose only ally is the giant teddy left on her doorstep one Christmas years ago with a note from her real dad which she treasures above all else. Her plan, of course, does not go smoothly and much hilarity ensues as she mistakenly captures Santa’s hapless son Bumblehole which sets off an unlikely chain of events leading to a “Groundhog Day”-esque repetition of Christmas Day in the Finnigan household.
All the actors are fantastic, keeping everyone enthralled with humorous dialogue, slapstick, songs, and dance routines featuring grumpy-looking snowmen as backing singers! The characters themselves are delightful and often completely odd, but in a wonderfully believable way – think human dogs, evil Russian teddy bears and widows falling in love with beardless Santa’s!
The underlying messages of the story are also just what you would want your children to learn – that Christmas, and indeed life, is not about getting what you think you want but rather about appreciating what you already have with the love of those around you, and that “normal” doesn’t really exist. As Holly tells us at the end, we’re all a little bit weird but that’s okay – it’s normal!
I thoroughly enjoyed this weird and wonderful production, and so did my daughter who said she thought it should win a prize for being the best show ever!
I think the age guidance is about right and I would definitely recommend it for families with kids aged 7 to 99!
Tickets cost from £14.50 to £24, family ticket £60
Running time 2 hours 30 minutes (including interval).
Get Santa is at the Northern Stage in Newcastle until 27 December 2014. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0191 230 5151.
Northern Stage, Barras Bridge,Newcastle Upon Tyne,Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RH