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Crumble’s Search For Christmas
Phil Hopkins, Travel & Arts Correspondent
Photography by Anthony Robling
The average two-year old child has more kicking power than a champion crawl swimmer bidding for gold at the Olympics!

This becomes immediately apparent when you sit in the West Yorkshire Playhouse to watch Crumble’s Search for Christmas, the theatre’s 2017 offering for two to six-year olds, and find yourself nursing bruises at the end of a one-hour show!

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As a former kids’ magician, I know that it is a notoriously difficult age range to please because the jump from two to six years is an almighty leap that is nigh on impossible to bridge; please the lower end of the age range and you will most probably leave the six-year olds shuffling in their seats and vice versa.

This gentle, beautifully staged production is most probably for those too young for the soon to be aired The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Crumble is a woodland creature who, along with Boo and Elderberry, should be getting ready to bed down in his cosy burrow for the big winter hibernation. But he’s curious, what is this thing called Christmas and where can he find it?

And so, inspired by a Christmas card verse, he sets off in pursuit of his dreams and the Festive Season, as the last leaf of Autumn falls to the ground.

Photography by Anthony Robling
His journey introduces him to a raft of woodland creatures, two crazy owls, Wendy the singing reindeer and a squirrel with a nice sweeping brush tail. However, for all its rich presentation, Crumble’s Search for Christmas is a bit like an expensive gift; the kids take one look at the contents of the box then turn the packaging into a spaceship!

It is a gentle affair with beautiful staging, a rich lighting plot and magical creatures, but, in truth, Crumble is for the four to six-year olds because at two, kids thrown together in a large auditorium merely feed off each other and turn the space into a noisy nursery, making the show even more difficult for the older kids to enjoy

Lucy Bairstow, Riana Duce and Emily Goldie, were the actors. They were enthusiastic, colourful and full of beans, but they will certainly have their work cut out over the next month or so.

Sadly, the lack of music and ‘behind yous’ will make their job that much harder, however, that does not take anything from this beautifully staged offering, which is very different from any of the regional pantos, but which will certainly be enjoyed by a certain target audience.

Crumble’s Search for Christmas
WY Playhouse - Courtyard Theatre
Saturday 25 November – Saturday 30 December

Crumble’s Search For Christmas, 30th November 2017, 13:15 PM