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The Ballad of Rudy (Chelsea Theatre)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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Small yet energetic: The Ballad of Rudy

The traditional story of Rudolph has quite literally been jazzed up by Goblin Theatre; live music, puppetry and a witty script all combine to create a hugely entertaining piece for children and adults alike.

No longer marked out by his red nose, Rudolph, or Rudy, is struggling to get along at school and fears that he will never be good enough to pull the sleigh. His self-doubt is spirited away, however, when he is inspired by a jazz Penguin to search for ‘the jazz' inside himself. Taken on a journey to meet a scatty artic fox, a swinging walrus and a bi-polar bear suffering from the blues Rudy learns that it's okay not to follow the herd.

The small yet energetic cast engage immediately; warming everyone up with an ‘antler inspection' and building up to a fully improvised piece of scat singing - this is particularly refreshing if you've already had your fill of Christmas carols. Indeed, the live music is the finest aspect of this show, with Jazz legend Claude Deppa fronting up the cast as the Jazz Penguin; giving an incredible performance in voice and on trumpet.

He's joined by Wendy Paver of Dreamboats and Petticoats and Dan Bottomley and between them they add another five instruments to the ensemble. With such a talented trio of musicians this is a brilliant way to introduce a younger audience into the world of jazz.

Should audience members not be able to find ‘the jazz' within themselves there is the beautiful puppetry to admire; the stage is visited by a fox, a gathering of puffins and a huge whale which captivate the audience. In fact, there is so much to enjoy in this innovative piece of children's theatre that, even if you don't have children to take along, you should try to see one of the ‘ive and late(r)' performances of the show for grownups which contains even more great live music.

Performances are 4 to 23 December 2013 (except Mondays) at 10.30am & 1.30pm. There are also two evening performances of the show Rudy: Live and Late for grownups on the 14th & 19th December at 7pm, followed by live music.


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