The Elves Save Christmas: Brighton Christmas Festival

Christmas is certainly a time for all but surely a time for children and David Hill and E3, the people behind the Christmas festival have concocted a delicious confection for the whole family. And kid’s show needs to fire the imaginations of youngsters but it also needs to hold the attention of their guardians too. This does exactly that with a delicate sprinkling of topical and local gags, waste collections, beards and cycle lanes, they all get a dig in the ribs.

The story is appropriately simple as Mrs Claus, the fabulously voiced Ashleigh Jones, leads her elves, tap dancing Elves, for a short pre Christmas jaunt to Brighton and a search for Santa. Of course not all goes to plan as they are met by Jack Frost, a scary but not too scary creation from Carl Patrick Morris, and if you like comic details just watch as he deploys his rubbery icicle fingers to do jazz hands, brilliant detailing. Great costumes too for the entire cast, glittery silly fun.

The show is packed with songs and there is  gentle and at times old fashioned feel to the whole, I mean that as a compliment.

What I liked more though was the lack of drab and preachy nonsense, yes I get the need for the odd moralirty tale, but sometimes kids theatre can verge on patronising, even for the youngest audience member – here the emphasis is on fun.

The show has been conceived by Jack Pallister and Allison Ferns, she of BBC Sussex fame and an acclaimed role as a mermaid in the E3 panto a few years back. No doubt her experience as a mum, a mother of two stage struck kids herself, has helped in putting this family delight together.

It’s the right length, the right tone and at the final curtain all the audience are invited to the stage to get their Elfy Selfies! What more could you ask for?

Andrew Kay

10 December

Rating: ★★★★☆

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