Get Santa! – Royal Court

A deliciously dark view of Christmas

I need to thank a friend for her pointer to this one (and the code to see it cheaply!)

Ten year old Holly thinks, unlike the rest of her family, that Christmas is rubbish because she never gets what she wants: to see her real father. Her mother has re-married a dog whose idea of decorating is to put meat – the subject of the shortest song ever – on the Christmas tree. So she concocts a plan to trap Santa and make him deliver for once. The real Santa is, of course too experienced to fall for the traps (crisps on the floor to make a noise, glue on the mantelpiece, whisky to make him drunk etc) but it's not just Santa on the sleigh this Christmas Eve… and her favourite toy, the bear she believes to be from her real father, ends up being brought to life. Now, as Santa's beard's magic only works on Christmas Day, what's a bear who wants to stay alive forever to do?

I'm not entirely sure how much children appreciated it (how many plays for kids feature bestiality as unremarkable?) but for the adults, this was wonderfully dark stuff (how many plays for adults…) about the disappointments of Christmas and the closest to creating its own world where everything makes sense, no matter how mad, since the incomparable Shockheaded Peter.

Imogen Doel channels Morwenna Banks's 'YES! I do know..' character in Absolutely (TV) / Bodgers, Banks and Sparkes (radio) in her portrayal of Holly, no bad thing, and the rest of the cast are fine, particularly Robert Stocks's doggy step-dad and everyone involved in the performance of the bear.

A delight, if you've got a warped sense of humour.

4/5

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