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Dear Santa - Curve Review

Festive theatre for the younger ones is provided by the stage adaption of Rob Campbell's Dear Santa offers a wonderful gateway into the performing arts.

Dear Santa. Photo of previous production.

Running for 40 minutes and aimed at an audience of children between the ages of 2 and 7 the show is a great piece of family. The run time is perfect for keeping the engagement levels high and the children's attention firmly fixed on the show. 

The story is simply to follow and focuses on Sarah, a young girl who hasn't written her letter to Santa, when she puts pen to paper she realises she has everything she needs so instead asks for gifts for all the children who are less fortunate than her. It's a lovely sentiment and Santa picks up the letter and with the help of an Elf sidekick, he sets about finding a surprise gift.

In the workshop, the pair work through a variety of gifts including a kite that is too big or a lion mask that is too scary and eventually settle on an adorable kitten (good luck to the parents in the audience with kids who may ask for one themselves!). The surprise is delivered and Sarah is overjoyed by this lovely gift.

The tone is set before the show with the excellent Joseph Taylor who plays Elf interacting with the audience and chatting with them, this certainly makes things feel relaxed. The interactivity is a key component of the show with a panto-esque calling back encouraged. There are also plenty of musical numbers that the audience is invited to join in with. 

Dear Santa. Photo of previous production.

Taylor is wonderfully cartoonish in his delivery of the Elf, matching well with Michael Fenner as Santa. Fenner could be injected with a little more festive joy though he did spend the whole performance I attended with a microphone that wasn't working. Penny Dyer is tremendously bubbly Sarah, her wide smile and infectious energy are lovely to watch. Dyer and Taylor particularly relish in the audience participation. 

The design feels like it could have lept right out of the book, with the stage divided into two sides, on one side is Santa's workshop and on the other is Sarah's bedroom. The scene changes could be tightened a little and make the pace feel a little sharper. 

A bonus is that after the performance the kids are able to meet Santa and receive a gift. It's a lovely touch and rounds off the experience for the youngsters and creates a great family memory. 

If Dear Santa is a child's first visit to the theatre then it's a brilliant introduction. Engaging festive goodness.

Dear Santa plays at Curve until Saturday 14th December 2022. Tickets are available from Dear Santa also plays at Ipswich Corn Exchange (5th and 6th December), Minerva Theatre, Chichester (10th - 24th December) and Darwin Library Theatre, Blackburn (17th - 24th December). Visit for full details.

Dear Santa. Photo of previous production.

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