Blue Elephant Theatre – until 21 December
Reviewed by Claire Roderick
The Blue Elephant’s Christmas show this year is a delightful story for younger children. Pringle the Penguin (Oliver Yellop) has come to the North Pole looking for Santa. Fed up with living in the boring South Pole, he wants to ask Santa for some gear to improve his image and start a new life in the North. Dr Shelby Shirley Sallyann Somoye (Liyah Summers) is also searching for Santa, for scientific reasons. She wants to prove Santa is real to regain her reputation after an unfortunate lab explosion and dreams of the awards she will win.
Dr S reluctantly joins forces with Pringle and comic misunderstandings and physical comedy that has the young audience in stitches ensues. Eventually, some mild jeopardy causes the mismatched pair to discover the true meaning of friendship and realise what is important to them. The message about friends, family and belonging creating true happiness is delivered sweetly and writers Jo Sadler-Lovett and Niamh de Valera know exactly when to throw in a ridiculous joke or pratfall to stop things getting too sentimental and set the audience whooping with laughter.
Summers and Yellop are a fine double act, with some lovely audience interaction – always high risk with very young children! There are sprinklings of magical wonder as Dr S’s Magical Christmas Magic Detector is powered up by the audience’s Christmas spirit, and some classic panto gags as the pair don’t spot the signs that Santa is close. Santa isn’t seen onstage, but the explanation given was easily and quickly accepted by the children. A charming show with a big heart, The Search For Santa is a real treat for little ones this Christmas