Santa Claus and the Christmas Adventure (Watford)

This studio show at the Watford Colosseum is a delightful introduction to the magic of theatre for very small children.

Magic abounds in Santa Claus and the Christmas Adventure which has all sort of illusions to keep young eyes fully open and enough plot and dialogue to hold attention. The hour-long story is simple enough.

Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer has gone AWOL on Christmas Eve, forced away by the other reindeers' teasing, which you could define as bullying.

photo from a previous production
photo from a previous production
© Craig Sugden

So Santa Claus and his (fairly) helpful two elves have to find him – fast. If they can't retrieve Rudolph, Christmas (and every child's presents) will just have to be cancelled.

Local actor Nicholas Corre is Charlie, the elf who so wants to be successful. Mark Desmond is the gentle but definitely harassed Santa.

The set, costumes, animal masks and props are all fresh and eye-catching; the stage trickery also works well. As the search for Rudolph picks up pace, not really helped by a pompous bear called Muffins, we learn the colours of the rainbow as well as why it's summer in Australia but winter in Lapland.

There's no force-feeding of facts; rather, they flow naturally from the dialogue. For those perhaps still too young for a full-length pantomime or other Christmas show, this is an ideal alternative.

Santa Claus and the Christmas Adventure runs in the Watford Colosseum studio until 24 December.