Tuesday, 22 December 2015

What I thought of THE SANTA TRAP show and Poly's 2016 Calendar.

I went to the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth on Sunday to see Mayflower Productions' new Santa Trap stage show, created by Robin Belfield and Simon Slater – and I'm delighted to say that I loved it!

I knew that the show was in safe hands, having seen Robin and Simon's stage adaptation of Here Be Monsters  earlier in the year and The Santa Trap show features the same very talented cast of actor-musicians.

Toby Vaughan does a great job of bringing villainous young Bradley Bartleby to life and is admirably supported by the rest of the cast playing Bradley's put-upon parents and unfortunate assistants,

Although I know the story well and had seen a little of the show in rehearsals, the finished show still held a few delightfully funny surprises. The way in which Mrs Bartleby (played by Elouise Secker) narrowly escapes being sliced by a guillotine had me and the young audience shrieking with laughter! 

Toby Vaughan (centre) as beastly Bradley announcing his plans to trap Santa Claus

Both The Santa Trap and Here Be Monsters, feature puppets made by puppet-maker Marc Parrett, so – as if showing off their acting, singing and playing musical instruments were not enough – the cast get to show off their puppetry skills as well. Here are Ben Tolley and Elouise Secker performing with Marc's tiger puppets.

The costumes and sets for both shows were designed by Rachel Fox, who came up with an ingenious double-sided "Swiss Army Knife" set that flips around and converts to form the deck of both Captain's Cut-Throat's pirate ship for Here Be Monsters and the interior of Bartleby Hall for The Santa Trap.

Rachel Fox's Santa Trap set ingeniously converts into the Here Be Monsters pirate ship

The Santa Trap book is dedicated to my father "for helping me to hone my trapping skills". By coincidence, it was my father's 89th birthday on Sunday, so as a birthday treat he and my mother also came along to see the show. I'm pleased to report that we all enjoyed it tremendously!


A couple of days before going to see the stage show I was on Notts TV's 6:30 Show, talking about the origins of the story.

You can watch the whole 6:30 show here, but the bit about the The Santa Trap starts at 8:04 mins.


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Lastly, you might be interested to know that Poly Bernatene who illustrated both books has just produced a 2016 calendar featuring a selection of his wonderful artwork including two images (March and December) taken from our next picture book Prince Ribbit.

You can download a copy of the calendar for free by clicking on the image below.  The calendar is designed to be printed out on A3 paper.

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