Contact Young Company and Slung Low
Contact Theatre 19 December 2016 to 22 December 2016
2016 has been a strong year for Contact Young Company. The winners of last year’s Youth Panel Award have been hard at work and The Siege of Christmas builds on Contact Theatre’s passion for extraordinary theatrical journeys and providing daring opportunities for young people in theatre.
Working alongside Slung Low, Contact Young Company present The Siege of Christmas, an enchanting piece of family-friendly theatre where the audience become toy soldiers weaving their way around Contact’s iconic building helping Nutcracker, a super-secret agent, to find and release the spirit of Christmas. Along the way we bump into a decoration of re-imagined Christmas characters including a multipack of militant mince pies, some demoralised Elves, a depressed Christmas cracker and a roll of rapping wrapping paper.
The whole piece is light-hearted and fun with a healthy slice of Christmas cheer and just a sprinkling of pantomime. Nutcracker (Gráinne Flynn) and Dan “the front of house manager” (Joshua Wilkinson) guide the audience through this festive-filled journey expertly and interact particularly well with the young audience. The children in the audience are gently encouraged to participate and it is clear that The Siege of Christmas certainly hits the mark with its target audience.
Unfortunately the show’s finale felt a little flat following the rushing excitement of chasing a band of sugar-loaded fairies through Contact’s turrets and stairways. It would have been nice to see a more climactic and choreographed ending to neatly wrap up the action of the production.
However, the producers should be congratulated on their use of audience movement and gentle audience interaction. From the aggressive Mince Pie Haka that initially locks the audience out of the building, to the clever narration throughout; the journey eliminates any feeling of “dead-air” whilst travelling between the various scenes. Every step has been carefully considered and Contact once again demonstrate the incredible talents of the young people they work with.
Reviewer: Harriet Mallion