As the cast took their bows and wished us all the seasons’ worst the Derby Theatre audience cheered, stamped and clapped what had been a mad rollercoaster romp of a production.
We had raced through festive history in pursuit of a pair of Christmas Nickers and encountered an indecisive Dickens, a King with all the Bling aka Charles II, greedy-guts Henry VIII, and those calvinist killjoys –the Puritans.
As the evil Sidney Claus, played with gusto by Andrew Vincent, and his simple sidekick Rudolph, played by Simon Snashall disappear with all the presents the young Watson (Mark Newnham) and Shirley Holmes (Sarah Pelosi) chase after them astride a super-powered tricycle. Whether they save the day or not must remain a secret so as not to spoil the ending.
There is a rumour that this show is not supposed to be a pantomime but try telling the audience that when they are presented with slapstick, funny walks, singing contests and a fabulous Terry Deary script packed with great gags.
There is more dry ice than in a 70s nightclub and terrific lighting effects, which really do seem to lift the flying tricycles into the night sky.
There is definitely more than a bit of a panto-esque theme going on and the cast have adapted the script to suit themselves and the season – that’s what helps makes it so magical.
Special mention should go to Christopher Chilton and Jo Mousley who are excellent in a variety of roles and handled a multitude of costume changes with ease.
Christopher’s rapping Regent is the highlight of the show and Jo is a joy as the childlike Catherine Howard from Tudor times and hilarious as Ella the maid in the Dickens household.
Also in the cast were Luke Foster as Richard Cromwell and Elizabeth Rose as Elizabeth Cromwell.
The director was Phil Clark, lighting designer Jason Taylor, sound designer Tom Lishman and choreographers Rae Piper and Paul Chantry.
Horrible Christmas has everything you need for a good night out but you will have to book tickets fast as they are selling out.
It is on at Derby Theatre until January 11. Go to http://www.derbytheatre.co.uk to find out more details.