Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to the theatre. Everyone loves a good panto, but this year sees the premiere of a new Christmas family musical that turns the tables and serves up a rather different take on festive family fun.
The Lost Toys’ Big Christmas Adventure!is a collaboration between writer/director Kali Peacock and Tony Award-winning composer Sarah Travis, the first woman ever to win a Tony for orchestration for her work on Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd.
The plot follows three lost toys who have fallen out of Father Christmas’s sleigh and are racing to get to their children in time for Christmas morning. Tinsel (a doll who can fight her own battles), Captain Courage (a superhero who turns out not to have as many superpowers as he thinks) and Moti (an ‘emotibot’ who changes emotions at the press of a button) have to work together to escape the clutches of Wicked Wanda (a very naughty doll who hates children).
As you’d expect the music is superb and is also wonderfully sung by a cast who deliver on every level. When there are just four of you on stage, and you’re all on pretty much all the time, there’s no room for a weak link and this cast doesn’t have one. You get so used to seeing kids’ shows with a cast that’s fresh out of drama school, with the addition of a couple of ‘off ofs’ from the TV. So it’s incredibly refreshing to see a cast with more experience. The performances are assured and nuanced and a lot of fun to watch.
There’s plenty to keep the kids laughing, including a song entirely about poo, but lots for parents as well. Woven throughout is an incredibly positive message that, whatever the more traditional Christmas stories may tell us, girls don’t need to sit around waiting for their prince to come. The unexpected ending is beautifully handled too and might just send you home with a lump in your throat.
If you’re within reach of Eastbourne this Christmas, go and see The Lost Toys’ Big Christmas Adventure!. Take the kids, take the family and take some tissues. You’ll need them for tears of laughter and joy.
The Lost Toys’ Big Christmas Adventure is running at The Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, until 31st December 2018. Click here for tickets.