The Santa Claus Show 07
08/12/2007 - 22/12/2007
Magic of Christmas On Stage
The magic of Christmas comes to life on stage in December when Santa stars in his very own stage show.
Tim Bray Productions presents The Santa Claus Show at The PumpHouse Theatre, Takapuna from 8-22 December.
Kelly and Alana are best friends. However, Kelly has sent the longest Christmas wishlist that Santa has ever seen, so Santa flies Kelly to the North Pole so she can learn for herself the true meaning of Christmas.
The Santa Claus Show features Tim Raby returning for his fourth season as Santa, with recent Helen Barrett as Kelly and Sam Berkley as Elfie.
Tim Bray wrote the show 16 years ago and named the two little girls in the play after his two nieces, Kelly and Alana.
"I have strong connections with Christmas and Santa because I was fortunate to grow up in a family where Christmas was special and magical. I love revisiting those memories when it is performed," Tim says.
The Santa Claus Show is the third in a series of professional children’s theatre productions presented by Tim Bray Productions in 2007. It follows successful seasons of Pippi Longstocking and Grandma McGarvey and Grandpa’s Slippers. In January, Tim Bray Productions presents an outdoor performance of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows.
The Santa Claus Show is at The PumpHouse Theatre, Killarney Park, Takapuna, Auckland from Saturday 8 December to Saturday 22 December with performances at 10.30am and 12.30pm daily. To book, phone (09) 489-8360 or online at www.pumphouse.co.nz. Family concessions available.
Santa Claus: Himself
Santa Claus' stunt double: Tim Raby
Kelly: Helen Barrett
Kelly's Dad: Tim Raby
Elfie: Sam Berkley
Musician: Robbie Ellis
Alana / Teddy Bear: Debra Huxford-Hunt
Balloon Seller / Music Box Dancer: Fiona Collins
Dad / Woody: Brad Hills
Girl / Barbie / Rudolph: Natasha-Leigh Lewis / Billie Staples (Saturday 10.30 and 12.30 shows)
Twitty: Emily Ansell
Twiddly: Rebecca Ansell
Shadow Puppets: Sam Berkley, Brad Hills
Chimneys: Debra Huxford-Hunt, Fiona Collins, Brad Hills
Set Design: John Parker
Lighting Design: Robert Hunte
Costume Design: Chantelle Gerrard
Lighting Operator: Geordie McCallum
Stage Managers: Alana Tisdall, James Wenley
Crew: Anne Saker / John Maybury
Ushers: Anne and Graeme Saker; John and Helen Maybury
Costume Makers: Chantelle Gerrard, Sara Kolijn
Set Construction / Painter: Frank Checketts
Lighting Crew: Jonny Cross, Paul Nicoll
Star Cloth: Sophie Ham
Shadow Puppets: Trygve Wakenshaw
Letters: Judith Bishop
Illustration: James Stewart
Brochure Design: David Martin
Advert Designs: Stefania Sarnecki, Red Design
Logo Design / Brochure Concept: Insight Creative Ltd
Teacher's Resource Guide: Rosemary Tisdall, Getting Kids into Books
Schools Liaison: Ken and Margaret Bray, Gill Saker
NZ Sign Language Interpreters: Kelly Hodgins and Lynnley Pitcher
Publicist: Sally Woodfield, SWPR
Company Accountant: Rachel Humphrey, KiwiConnect
Production Assistants: Bryce Hatton, Ken & Margaret Bray
Website & Brochure Design: David Martin, Office Logic
For The PumpHouse: Jo Clark, David Martin, Michael Murphy
Box Office: Gill Saker
Produced by Tim Bray, for The Operating Theatre Trust
A Merry Little Christmas Cracker
Review by Nik Smythe 16th Dec 2007
The action opens with Alana (Helen Barrett) and Kelly (Deborah Huxford-Hunt) playing hide and seek. It’s soon clear that Kelly’s the bossy one and Alana the shy one, exemplified in the difference in length of their letters to Santa Claus. Thru the magic of theatrical FX we follow the letters as they are blown on the wind to the North Pole.
Enter Sam Berkely as Elfy, Santa’s chief Elf, walking like an Egyptian to Jingle Bells. Elfy runs the affairs of Santa’s toy workshop with stylish hyperactivity, and is inspired to invite Kelly to the North Pole as Santa’s singular annual special guest. One impressive flying bed scene later, enough anticipation having built up, Kelly and we are finally introduced to Santa himself. My son Loki asked if it’s the real Santa Claus, which indeed he is according to the programme (with Tim Raby as the stunt double for his dynamic entrance). Big, jolly, friendly and funny – that’s Santa alright.
It seems curious that Elfy chooses the greediest (‘Not greedy, just clever!’ -Kelly) child with the longest list of toys they want for Christmas he’s ever seen, to be Santa’s Christmas guest. It seems at first like she’s been chosen to be taught a harsh lesson, about all the less fortunate children and Santa’s worry that as the population rises he may not be able to give them all their coveted gifts. Santa loves all children you see, not only good ones. In the end the lesson is very softly learned. This must be the pervading magic of Christmas, that teaches joy with joy and peace with peace.
Loki’s favourite character was Natasha-Leigh Lewis’ Rudolph the reindeer with the famous red nose, the secret origin of which is revealed to be having been struck by lightning. His favourite scene was the extended hide-and-seek match between Kelly and an assortment of Christmas presents brought to life. The bit I liked best was the shadow puppet present wrapping machine, and my favourite characters were assistant elves Twitty and Twiddly, performed with playful precociousness by Emily and Rebecca Ansell.
In fact everyone’s performance is good, enhanced nicely by the excellent live musical accompaniment of Robbie Ellis. Chantelle Gerrard’s fun-filled costume design is generally spot on, especially the classically presented title character and his sidekick. Only Barbie seemed a bit to cool and funky for the character as I understand her, but I’m not complaining. Under the dynamic lights of Robert Hunte, set design veteran John Parker supplies an enchanting and versatile range of sets for the show, utilising such ingenious solutions as crumpled white paper to represent ice.
A personal first for me was observing sign language interpreters Kelly Hodgins and Lynnley Pitcher, translating the script for any deaf audience members from the side of the stage. Not being fluent myself, it conversely serves as a small lesson in the art of signing.
The production on the whole successfully captures the attention of the mostly very young crowd for the whole hour, no problem. I’ve said before in reviews for playwright/director Tim Bray’s children’s plays how delightful they can be as an old-school alternative to ultra-sensationalist modern entertainment, and I say it again. Not that The Santa Claus Show is without sensation – far from it. Bray’s modern day Kiwi Christmas pageant is resplendent with quirky characters, candid quips, quick changes, crazy costumes, as well as more serious social questions for consideration. All in all a merry little Christmas cracker.
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