Father Christmas's Christmas Workshop

Scratch Built Production in association with Proteus Theatre
Proteus Creation Space, Basingstoke

Charlie Sanderson as the Elf
Clive Holland and Lizzy Price

Father Christmas’s Christmas Workshop is a magical interactive promenade show by Scratch Built Productions specifically for pre-school children and their families and it’s enchanting.

As the excited children enter the Proteus Creation Space in Basingstoke, they are given a piece of paper with the question, “What do you want for Christmas?” They eagerly write or sketch their present.

We enter the colourful, highly detailed workshop where we meet Clive the Elf (Clive Holland) who encourages the youngsters to help decorate the Christmas tree. Holland has a calm, welcoming approach and puts all the children at ease as he explains all the work he has to do today. If only he had a helper.

Lizzy Price is delightful as Mrs Christmas, sprinkling snow every time she enters, who brings news that Clive will have a new helper but the new elf is nowhere to be seen. However, the youngsters point to a large cardboard box that’s moving. Hiding inside is Charlie, charmingly played by Charlie Sanderson.

It’s her first day at work and she is instructed by Clive on how to wrap the presents as they appear on the conveyor belt, box them up and send them on the chute and then out to be delivered.

But things go wrong as the presents arrive too quickly on the conveyor belt. There is too much wrapping paper that engulfs Charlie. It’s all wonderful knockabout fun. One little girl yelled out, “Can we help you?”—the true spirit of Christmas that had all the kids enthusiastically joining in to assist.

Poor Charlie. She even makes a Uniroo by mistake, a combination of a unicorn and a kangaroo, which turns out to be an adorable puppet that the children loved.

Moving onto our next space, we meet Pops, again played by Holland, where he was trying to free the bubbles he produced with the excited youngsters gleefully bursting them.

We then pass through a corridor with letters to Father Christmas suspended on strings with a gigantic tower of letterboxes opposite.

Finally, we travel to the North Pole and we discover it’s a captivating children’s playground with a snow-covered floor, Christmas trees and a pool filled with plastic balls and the kids are encouraged to explore, which they did with relish.

The highlight is the arrival of Father Christmas. All too soon, the festivities are over, but everyone leaves with a little gift.

Directed by Becky Kitter, this is a captivating production that is a joyful experience.

Reviewer: Robin Strapp

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