BWW Review: CHRISTMAS AT THE (SNOW) GLOBE, Shakespeare's Globe
Shakespeare's Globe has opened its doors during the winter season for the first time to host Sandi Toksvig's Christmas at the (Snow) Globe which she created with her sister Jenifer. Quick to dampen down the audience's expectations by letting them know the plot is thin, we learn that Sandi loves Christmas but it's the time of year that she most misses her identical twin who, on press night at least, she was separated from during a shipwreck.
The Globe looks bare, with an undecorated tree taking centre stage and Toksvig is desperate to make the theatre look more festive and create a perfect Christmas moment. When the magic of Christmas is stolen, Toksvig, with the help of some friends including midwinter fairy Snowdrop (Sophie Trott) and the ghost of Hamlet's father (played by Becky Barry who also acts as the BSL interpreter for each show), has to find it and return it to the Globe.
The show has a classic pantomime villain in the form of Robin Goodfellow (Stella Duffy), who in the end turns out to be not as much of a baddie as we are led to believe. There is also some great physical comedy with Tony Jayawardena, cast as Saadi, Sandi's identical twin, towering over Toksvig. Much is made of the characters not being able to tell the two apart which results in lots of confusion. As this is the Globe, there is some Shakespeare woven through the plot, with a rewritten version of "The 12 Days of Christmas" paying tribute to the Bard.
Toksvig and the whole cast make sure this is a show for both adults and children, with innuendos and physical comedy prevalent throughout. Everyone is brilliant in supporting the story, especially Louise Voce as Stage Manager Jack and Becky Barry who does an excellent job of creatively using BSL.
The audience are encouraged to participate throughout, from singing Christmas songs alongside the cast and Fourth Choir, to making paper chains to decorate the theatre during the interval, the relaxed atmosphere really helps everyone get into the Christmas spirit. With every show having integrated BSL and two captioned performances on 22 December and an audio described performance on 21 December, the production really is for everyone.
It's silly but charming and heart-warming and audiences will leave feeling suitably festive.
Photo Credit: Tristram Kenton