The Santa Claus Show

The Pumphouse Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland

15/12/2006 - 23/12/2006

Production Details

Written by Tim Bray
Songs by Jason Smith and Robbie Ellis

A beautiful and enchanting show, The Santa Claus Show returns by popular demand, to bring magic and meaning to this special time of year.

Kelly and Alana are best friends. And Kelly has sent the longest list of things that Santa has ever seen! Can she learn the true meaning of Christmas and help Santa deliver all the presents on time?

Santa Claus' stunt double: Tim Raby
Kelly: Elle Harris
Kelly's Dad: Tim Raby
Elfie: Ashley Hawkes
Alana/Barbie: Bridget Pyc
Balloon Seller/Woody/Rudolph: Henry Winder
Mum/Music Box Dancer: Lucy Bennett
Girl/Teddy Bear: Billie Staples
Twitty: Connor Lamb
Twiddly: Maya Lamb
Shadow puppets: Ashley Hawkes, Maree Folwell
Chimneys: Lucy Bennett, Billie Staples, Bridget Pyc

Musician: Robbie Ellis
Director: Tim Bray
Musical Director: Robbie Ellis
Set Design: Judith Bishop
Lighting: Robert Hunte
Costume: Chantelle Gerrard
Shadow puppets creator: Trygve Wakenshaw

Theatre , Music , Family , Children’s ,

1 hr

Perennial charm, wholesome message, good-hearted fun

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 18th Dec 2006

If you’re looking for some Christmas cheer for the kids over the summer break, look no further than The Santa Claus Show, written by Tim Bray (who does a star turn himself, as the Christmas Turkey, entertaining kids of all ages, as they arrive.)

A talented cast – with a stand out performance by Tim Raby, who captures just the right mix of jolly and wisdom, playing the man in red – and memorable songs written by Jason Smith, ensures this is a show the whole family can enjoy.

Other performance highlights include brief appearances by the cutest elves in town, Connor and tiny wee Maya Lamb; the goofy physicality and well timed wit Ashley Hawkes brings to Santa’s not so little helper, Elfie; singing interludes from the versatile and engaging songbird, Elle Harris; and Bridget Pyc’s extraordinary Barbie.

Bray wrote The Santa Claus Show 15 years ago, and its perennial charm and wholesome message to children loses nothing over time. That’s the lovely thing about producing a Christmas show for kids: there’s a clear expectation and with no room for irony when it’s all about Santa and the little ones, the foundations are clearly laid for some good-hearted fun.

Our central character, Kelly, learns the spirit of giving and sharing, is far more rewarding than gloating over the large amount of loot received in her Christmas pillow case, as ordered via her long list to Santa.

Two able NZ Sign Language Interpreters (Kelly Hodgins and Lynnley Pitcher), give a performance side of stage that is as engaging and entertaining as the cast, and makes this show as accessible as possible, for all kids.

Lighting design by Robert Hunte is effective throughout, with UV to show children’s letters flying to the North Pole, a big highlight for the little ones. By contrast, Trygve Wakenshaw’s shadow puppetry depicting Santa’s toy manufacturing shop, while very clever and visually impressive for the adults, didn’t sustain the interest of the younger members of the audience, for its full duration.

Musician extraordinaire Robbie Ellis hits the right note from his first sleigh bell through to his expert keyboard stylings in the finale. I’d love to see what he could do on a full set of ivories. His playing of Smith’s variations of well known Christmas carols and songs as incidental music; choice of sound effects, and ability to play the keys with his left hand while blasting up a storm on trumpet in his right, were all expertly delivered.

Merry Christmas to Tim, his cast and crew. I hope Santa brings them lots of full and happy houses this Christmas.


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