Andy Howells visits Cardiff Castle Christmas Festival and reviews the new family Christmas musical, Santa’s Wish
Well blow me down with a great plum pudding! Santa’s Wish – the family Christmas show to top all Christmas Show’s has crash-landed into Cardiff Castle Christmas Festival’s Spiegeltent and this “grown-up” has rediscovered some real Christmas Magic in his life!
The creative brainchild of Laura and Matthew Brind, Santa’s Wish was originally conceived as a piece of “doorstep” theatre by Laura to spread some joy and cheer to the community during lockdown. On Sunday afternoon, Santa’s Wish travelled to a much wider audience in the grounds of Cardiff Castle and delighted many “little people” young and old.
Beginning with a Sleigh crash, the audience meet the elves Snowflake, Tinsel, Crackers and Jingel before Santa himself! Santa and his crew appear to be lost, the reindeers having already departed and made it home to Mother Christmas (who matriarchally communicates with the crew via loudspeaker phone).
As we get to Know the crew, we learn the story of Snowflake, whom after landing on the edge of the warming ice cap, melts into the ocean and travels on an extraordinary and vibrant journey around the world as she struggles to make it back to the North Pole and reach Santa Claus.
Through this story we also meet Lily who through little acts of kindness gives hope to other families like Freddy and Eddie’s who are suffering hardship after losing their mother. Each of these elements help Snowflake move through her journey to find Santa Claus.
And Crumbling Christmas Cakes! – Santa’s Wish is gift-wrapped with an exciting and energetic cast. Millie Davies is delightful in her role of Snowflake, endearing the audience with her rendition of Someone Teach Me How to Fly while creating a character we can all love through her struggles and kindness to others.
Richie Gooding as Crackers/Freddy has the audience laughing from the opening scene, as he confesses to crashing the sleigh after one too many loop the loops with the reindeers and new Eco-sleigh.
Keely Edwards wowed the audience as Jingel/Eddie. As a trained aerialist and acrobat, Keely adds incredible circus elements into Santa’s Wish which complement the musical numbers beautifully. As the story of snowflake develops, Keely adds so much to scenes where snowflake is moving through the atmosphere.
Naomi Katiyo is superb in her dual role of Tinsel/Lily displaying a magnificent vocal range, while at the same time showing the right amount of love and care for her neighbours when portraying Lily’s story.
Then we have Santa himself – the fantastic Dyfrig Morris who brings poetry and prose with plenty of “Ho, Ho, Ho” as he weaves in and around the Christmas fun.
Santa’s Wish is topped with a refreshing, lively and addictive song track featuring the previously mentioned Someone Teach Me How to Fly along with Deserve to Belong, So Merry Christmas, Little Acts of Kindness and Wishing. All these songs deserve a CD or digital release (with this cast please!) to add enjoyment to everybody’s Christmas playlist. The cast performed the songs beautifully and it was lovely to see “Little People”, young and old singing and clapping along as Christmas adrenaline began to flow.
Santas Wish carries a very important message too about caring, not only for fellow humans, but also the earth, it’s a message of Christmas love that doesn’t go out of date. It certainly touched my heart, particularly at a time in my life when I have personally found it difficult to enjoy the festive season in recent years. Thank you, Santa!
So, basically, this reviewer’s message is simple: “Book your seats and see Santa’s Wish at Cardiff Castle Christmas Festival – or Mother Christmas will bust your baubles!”
- Santa’s Wish runs until December 31, for ticket availability – visit the Cardiff Castle Christmas Festival website.