We were lucky enough to see Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas at the Lryic Theatre in Hammersmith and it was a perfect start to the festive season. DS (4) and DD (3) loved the show, and are now very ready for their own visit from the man in red himself.
Briggs' story is very simple and the production is well suited to young kids. At just under an hour long, the length worked well, and the simple, chronological structure was easy to follow. We watched Father Christmas, at home with his cat and dog, wake up at home on Christmas Eve. He got ready for the day, fed his reindeer and got the last of his presents on the sleigh. DS gasped as the actor got changed, on stage, into his red suit. "Mummy, is that the real Father Christmas?" - his eyes really were wide as he asked.
As Father Christmas rode his sleigh and guided his reindeer through a snowstorm, I noticed that my two DCs were enthralled. They believed every second of what they saw on stage - it really was magical for them. This was probably the most beautiful scene of the show - and definitely one which the DCs will remember. We then watched Father Christmas deliver his presents and return home after a very big day. But then came the low point. DD wanted to know where her presents from Father Christmas were. It took a bit of distraction and generosity with the truth to explain that question away.
With just one actor on stage and some simply designed pets, this is a lovely show to watch. Clever sound effects are created by a single musician above the stage, while a puppeteer controls the lovable cat, dog and reindeer.
We left the performance feeling very festive and ready to hunt out Raymond Briggs' original story. For DS, the tale reminded him of all that's to come this Christmas. For DD, the show was al wonderful and comprehensible introduction to concepts she didn't remember from last year. They both came out feeling excited and full of stories about Father Christmas to share as they later retold what they'd seen.
If you're looking for a festive outing with young DCs before Christmas, do consider this show. It's certainly one of the best we've seen - and a lovely, uplifting way to spend an hour. Watching the kids completely immersed in the show, was, without doubt, magical.