Family Show Review: Santa Claus And The Magical Christmas Journey, Watford Colosseum
Santa Claus And The Magical Christmas Journey
Things We Like
- A fun, lively and entertaining Christmas show for young audiences
- The Santa meet and greet (including gift) is a great added extra
- Plenty of audience participation, including sing-alongs to festive tunes
- A great alternative to Christmas Panto and/or Santa's Grotto
Things We Dislike
- The stage and set were slightly underwhelming
- Over £50 for a family of 4 for 45 mins feels a little pricey
What’s It All About?
Santa Claus And The Magical Christmas Journey is a festive show running through December 2018 at Watford Colosseum. Featuring a magical Santa, his naughty elves and his malfunctioning sleigh, expect a fun-filled performance with singing, dancing, audience participation and the chance to meet Santa afterwards, which is sure to delight and entertain young children this Christmas.
What Do We Think?
We went to see Santa Claus And The Magical Christmas Journey at Watford Colosseum one Sunday as part of our festive family activities. Unsure of what to fully expect, we watched a fun, lively and entertaining 45 mins show perfectly aimed at young children (recommended age 2-7). What’s more, there was a meet and greet with Santa after the performance, the chance to take your own photos and a small gift for each child.
Rather than being in the Main Hall, the show took place in The Forum, which is a separate room used for functions. Although not as impressive as being on the main stage, it gave the show an intimate atmosphere which worked well with this kind of performance. The stage and set was pretty basic though – it consisted of a small raised platform, a black curtain, some lights, Santa’s sleigh and some presents for props. It was a little underwhelming and we think more could have been done here.
As the show is targeted at young children, the story line isn’t the most complicated. Basically, two cheeky elves (Charlie and Kara) sneak on board Santa’s sleigh as he heads out to deliver presents on Christmas Eve. This year though, Santa has decided to leave his usual aid (Muffin The Bear) at home in favour of a brand new Sat Nav system (randomly voiced by Russell Grant).
Ironically, his Sat Nav breaks and he needs the help of the elves, Muffin, the audience and some magic to deliver the final presents and save Christmas. Although it’s a simple story, it’s perfectly suited to young children, has plenty of festive cheer and highlights the importance of working together to overcome a problem. As you’d expect, the show features singing and dancing which help to tell the story and break it up for the young audience.
The show features around seven different songs, including nursery rhymes like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, as well as more festive numbers such as “When Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney”, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” and “Jingle Bells”. There was also a particularly impressive rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, which included the performers revolving presents with different numbers on each side to tie in with the lyrics.
The songs were sang well by the three performers and the children in the audience loved joining in with the well-known tunes. Our daughter loved singing along to the songs, particularly as she’s been learning quite a few of them at school. If anything, we think there was scope to have had even more songs in the show which would give children (and their adults) further chance to sing along, but it’s not like they were lacking.
Along with the songs, we particularly liked all of the audience participation. This started almost immediately with the elves high-fiving all of the children in the crowd, then continued throughout with things like shouting out answers to questions, pointing to where the elves were hiding on stage and helping Santa with his magic. There was even a part in the show when a child was invited on stage to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” with a microphone.
There were also a couple of other parts of the show which got the young children in the crowd very excited. This included when the audience were covered in bubbles during a scene about the weather, as well as the finale which saw Santa use his magic to make it snow foam inside the room and over the audience. They may have been low budget special effects, but they certainly got the children giggling with excitement and joy.
Following the end of the show, each row is led up to the front and families are given the chance to sit with Santa in his sleigh and have photos taken. These days, most Santa’s Grottos ban you from taking your own photos and charge a ridiculous amount for their official photos, so it was a really nice change to be able to take photos ourselves and not feel pressured to pay more money for a photo. After the meet and greet, children were given a present (a Christmas activity book) by Kara the elf and wished a Merry Christmas.
The show lasted for around 45 minutes, which makes it a good length for young children. Obviously small kids can get a bit fidgety and restless, so a performance of this length ensures their attention remains. Our four-year old daughter had a great time and would have been happier with a longer show. Despite being on the younger side, our one-year old son watched on throughout and seemed happy too.
All in all, Santa Claus And The Magical Christmas Journey was a fun and entertaining show which is really well suited to a younger audience. Due to the story line and length, it’s a great alternative to Christmas pantos which are often longer in duration and targeted at older children. In addition, as it included a meet and greet with the big man himself, it also acts as an alternative to visiting Santa’s grotto.
What Does It Look Like?
What Do I Need To Know?
Type: Theatre, Live Show, Christmas.
Dates: 1st December to 24th December, with multiple performances per day.
Price: Baby under 18 months (Babe In Arms) £1, Child over 18 months £13.50 (Off-Peak) / £15.50 (Peak), Adult £14.50 (Off-Peak) / £16.50 (Peak), Family Ticket (must include 2 children) £52 (Off-Peak) / £54 (Peak).
Duration: Approx. 1 hour, consisting of 45 mins show (no interval) and up to 15 mins Santa meet and greet.
Age Range: Babies and Toddlers (0-3), Young Children (4-8).