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Production

A Right Rubbish Christmas

Company

Centre Stage School of the Arts

Reviewer

Nadia Bte Ibrahim

Date

14/12/2004

Time

4.00pm

Place

The University Cultural Centre Theatre

Rating

****

Jingle All the Way!

The greedy king. The ugly villain. The distressed princess. The handsome man to the rescue. Sound familiar? Despite the predictable structure of the plot, A Right Rubbish Christmas was anything but rubbish.

With quirky characters, colourful costumes, delightful songs and witty lines, A Right Rubbish Christmas turned out to be a highly interactive and enjoyable treat for both the kids and older folks. By the interval, everyone was caught up in the twists and turns of the play. Yes, even this seventeen-year-old was waiting expectantly to find out what would happen next.

This new pantomime begins with a homeless man, Nicky Norbutter, (Andy Tear) telling little Tom Tinker (James Barton) his past experience as a worker in King Trevor's castle. The audience is then transported to King Trevor's (Peter Hodgson) castle where his adviser, Count Yermani, (Daniel Jenkins) is counting the number of Christmas gifts the king has received. Count Yermani schemes to steal King Trevor's Christmas gifts and marry his daughter, Princess Alopecia (Claire Devine). The saviour of the day is Nicky who overhears Count Yermani's evil plan and begins his adventure to rid the people of the kingdom of the dreaded "Christmas tax" and save his beloved Princess Alopecia from misery. Unfortunately, the lovely princess is dentally challenged, which leads to much amusement for the audience. ("Ish all wrong, I feesh sho lonely.")

In the end, as with all feel-good Christmas stories, Count Yermani is captured and Nicky is wedded to the beautiful Princess Alopecia. Tom learns the true meaning of Christmas is more than just about presents and that Nicky is really… Santa Claus! Aww…

A Right Rubbish Christmas presented a power-packed cast (also including Leigh McDonald who plays Fairy Cross-de-Mersey and Matt Grey as Marjorie Norbutter), whose ability to engage the audience left everyone enchanted. Jenkins played the part of the villain to perfection, equipped with the requisite evil laugh, devious wink and cunning smile. It was a brilliant performance by the actor who managed to enrage the little ones and amuse the adults with his antics. Similarly, Grey, playing Marjorie Norbutter, the pantomime dame, had the audience laughing throughout the play. Having chosen ten men from the audience to join her on stage, one of who was to be "her" husband, "she" proceeded to flirt outrageously with each one. Little mishaps during the performance were smoothly and effortlessly turned by Grey to his advantage, drawing even more laughs from the crowd.

Credit also deserves to be given to the sound and lighting crew for creating the perfect atmosphere for certain scenes. For instance, whenever the dreaded "Christmas tax" was mentioned, a bolt of lightning sounded and the stage turned eerily dark. However, the most special quality of the play was its involvement with the audience. In true Panto tradition, there was great interaction between the characters and the audience as the children were encouraged to sing along and assist in saving the day (especially near the end when the kids were required to bombard Count Yermani with crushed pieces of paper). It was evident at the end of the play that all of them had had a fun-filled time.

My only criticism is that certain parts of the play dragged on for too long, which was quite a surprise, as the children's short attention span should have been taken into consideration. After all, the play was mainly targeted at little kids. Perhaps, the way to go with such a play should have been short and sweet.

All in all, A Right Rubbish Christmas delivered what it promised: "A big hearted, fast paced and hilariously funny" play. Judging from the excitement on everyone's faces after the play, I'm certain that this family show put everyone in the Christmas mood. Ho ho ho.


"With quirky characters, colourful costumes, delightful songs and witty lines, A Right Rubbish Christmas turned out to be a highly interactive and enjoyable treat for both the kids and older folks"

More Reviews by Nadia Bte Ibrahim

Ratings out of 5, based on Practitioner's Vision / Reviewer's Response: ***** = Transcendent / Rapturous;
**** = Crystal / Appreciative; *** = Transmitted / Thoughtful; ** = Vague / Unsatisfied; * = Uncommunicated / Mystified.