On Friday 12th December, I took my two year old daughter along to The Brewery Theatre in Bristol to see Santa’s Little Trolls. The age recommendation for this show is for ages 2 – 6 and their families. This is the first time I have taken my littlest to the theatre on her own as she has usually tagged along to productions with her 5 year old sister, so I was interested to see how she found the experience and whether it would be suitable for her.
Using a mixture of puppets and actors and performed by Dik Downey and Vicky Andrews, ‘Santa’s Little Trolls’ tells the story of Jeremy, a father living in Norway who loves Christmas and everything about it, from mince pies to christmas music, but above anything else, he loves SNOW! His sun worshipping daughter who lives in Australia comes to stay with him for Christmas, but finds his eccentric ways embarrassing, his lack of a TV and penchant for odd Norwegian folk music too much, and is worried Christmas is going to be a bit of a let down. Little do they know they are about to encounter two uninvited guests at the bottom of the garden, two friendly little trolls who have tunnelled into the shed! These trolls are the ones who are responsible for making it snow each year. Trouble is, they have decided they are on strike, and won’t make any snow until they get on the front of their very own Christmas card. Will the elves and Santa be able to change their minds before Christmas Day rolls around? Will Jeremy get his wish for a white Christmas to make things magical for his daughter?
I loved this show. I thought it was sweet, charming and with just the right amount of festive sentimentality. I’m only a tiny bit ashamed to say that I had a little tear at the end, and left the theatre feeling ready for Christmas to begin. The puppetry from the ‘Pickled Image’ company was superb. Initially I was really aware of the black cloaked human operators, but this only lasted a minute, and I really felt like the puppets were alive, due to the skill of the puppeteers.
In terms of its suitability for 2 year olds, I guess this very much depends on the 2 year old! My daughter is only just 2, and there is quite a lot of dialogue in the show, which was pretty much lost on her. She is able to sit for 45 minutes, but for some little ones this may be too much, so its worth bearing this in mind. However, there is enough going on visually to hold the attention even if they may not fully understand what is going on. She was fascinated (and, judging by how hard she gripped my arm, perhaps a little nervous!) of the puppets, and was pretty much transfixed by the action throughout, although she was not giggling like some of the older audience members. She LOVED the snow at the end, and the fact that she got the chance to come up onto the stage when the show was finished to play with it. Later on in the day, she announced her “best bit today Mummy was snow!” Overall, It’s hard to know exactly what she really made of the show because she can’t put it into words fully. All I do know is that on the way up to the Brewery Theatre on the train she was very whinge-y and there were lots of tears. On our walk back to the train she spent the whole time singing.
If you want a bite sized but classy show to ease you into the festive spirit, then Santa’s Little Trolls is the show for you and your little ones, and is on until Jan 4th 2015.
Review by Karen Blake