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BWW Review: THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS, Pitlochry Festival Theatre

We review the digital all-age Christmas show starring Clare Grogan and Colin McCredie

BWW Review: THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS, Pitlochry Festival Theatre

BWW Review: THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS, Pitlochry Festival Theatre At the time of writing, the Scottish county of Perth and Kinross is currently in the Tier 3 level of COVID restrictions meaning theatres cannot perform shows in front of live audiences. Instead, Pitlochry Festival Theatre and The Macrobert Arts Centre have collaborated to bring audiences a fun Christmas show to enjoy at home called The Magic of Christmas.

Designed to mimic a live performance and filmed in Stirling and Pitlochry, the 30-minute performance follows the journey of Christmas elves Lari (Barbara Hockaday) and Hari (Ali Watt) who have a big problem: the cheeky duo were playing football with Prancer, Dancer and Vixen and have lost the North Star!

With no North Star, how will Santa (Colin McCredie) find his way to all the houses to deliver the presents this Christmas? Seeking the help of the wise Mrs Clause (Clare Grogan), the pair of elves go on a magical quest to find the lost North Star.

Written and directed by Russell Beard and Elizabeth Newman, the story has real heart and has plenty of opportunities for the audience to join in. From the gorgeous concept of an "art garden" where our ideas are grown and nourished to the colourful doors of a giant advent calendar, the world they have created captures the imagination.

Hockaday and Watt are suitably mischievous as the elves. McCredie makes a lively Santa and Grogan gives a sweet and sincere performance as Mrs Clause.

Perth and Kinross residents can also book tickets to visit a special outdoor promenade installation. The festively decorated guided route features in the filmed performance, located within Pitlochry Festival Theatre's picturesque Explorers' Garden.

Whether you've seen the show first and then go to retrace the elves' footsteps or explore the gardens before settling down to enjoy the show at home, it's an innovative way to engage with audiences in the current climate.

Music by Barbara Hockaday creates moments of festive joy, putting creative spins on some familiar Christmas songs blended with narrative-driven numbers.

Sound design by Ben Occhipinti has the occasional imbalance between dialogue and musical accompaniment, but the audio from outdoor scenes is generally very clear. This is particularly impressive with the busy A9 just a stone's throw from the filming location in Pitlochry.

The costumes by Julie Carlin are straight out of a Christmas card. Lighting design by Jeanine Byrne transforms the gardens with fairy lights and more aplenty, and Santa's grotto is lit in warm and cosy hues. The Magic of Christmas is well worth a watch to get yourself in the festive mood. A delight for all ages.

The Magic of Christmas available online until 23 December


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