In the intimate space of the Mill Studio, children have enough wiggle room to dance, giggle and join in the fun, while the parents can sit back and just relax for 45 minutes.
Loosely based on Clement Clarke Moore's poem The Night Before Christmas ("'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house / Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse..."), Adam Bampton-Smith's script follows the journey of a mouse who wants to ask Father Christmas if mice can have Christmas as well as humans.
Along the way he meets some toytown characters, including an old action figure Dymotron, a Christmas Fairy and a rather hungry cat. The story itself is quite lovely and certainly induces some Christmas cheer!
As Eddie the Mouse, Ammie Middleton is full of squeaks and as cute as a button. The first friend Eddie makes along his journey is Tom Ashley's Dymotron, a sort of Buzz Lightyear reject. Ashley brings a great sense of humour to the role and gives the adults something to chuckle along to. Multi-rôling as Fairy Lizzie and Emily – the girl who banishes the mouse from the house – Charlotte Edmondson is a bundle of energy as she runs about the set, nearly exploding with Christmas excitement.
The set is charmingly ramshackle, with a large book forming the back drop for the majority of scenes. Each page turned reveals a new location, from underneath the Christmas tree to outside the house. A personal favourite moment was when the large Cheshire cat-like feline rears his grinning head and the children in the audience scream in delight.
This show would be a perfect trip for children a little too young for panto and leaves the audience feeling excited for Christmas Eve!
The Night Before Christmas plays at the Yvonne Arnaud until 29 December.