Eva and I have enjoyed lots of shows at the Little Angel Theatre over the last few years but the last one we went to freaked her out a little bit. It was aimed at older children and my very sensitive girl didn’t quite cope. This show sounded a lot more on her level – it was aimed at 4-11-year-olds and the peril sounded very limited. You’ll be pleased to know that she came out saying it was “a very nice show” and denied that she was even a little bit upset in the middle when things weren’t going so well. I think that’s a pretty positive review.
So, what happened in the very nice show? It’s the tale of an old farmer who leaves a Christmas pudding out on his window sill every Christmas Eve for a pixie and the pixie returns the favour by blessing his farm with prosperity. Cows produce milk, roosters crow, chickens lay, vegetables grow. That was unintentionally poetic but I’ll pretend I did it on purpose. All is well until the farmer retires and new people take over – naive city folk – who dismiss the farmer’s note about the pixie and the pudding and then suffer a year of agricultural disaster. You can guess how it ends.
It may sound simplistic but it’s a charming little tale. There are songs to mark the passing of the seasons and they gradually become more melancholy as the new owners flail and falter. The two performers – Gilbert Taylor and Nix Wood – control the songs, work the puppets, play all the characters and sing the songs live as well, slipping into sweet harmony and occasionally a full-on dance routine. The puppets move with impressive nimbleness – at one point, the pixie is dancing inside a mixing bowl and leaping from table to floor with grace. The animal puppets were adorable and pretty much life-size. Eva was bought into the show as soon as Molly the Sheepdog appeared because Eva’s dog obsession shows no sign of abating. And Molly really did move like a real dog – so much so that I swear Eva let out a little sob when Molly was sent to sleep outside by the new owners. But as I said, she denies ever getting upset so who am I to doubt her?
There were a couple of emotional pinch points – Molly slinking off through the door with her tail dropping, the new owners facing up to the hopelessness of their situation – but it wasn’t ever overwhelmingly sad. There was a lightness of touch throughout and a lot of humour and liveliness, which stopped even the emotional ones among us getting too upset. The ending was joyous and full of hope so in every way, it was an uplifting Christmas show. Having said that, it wasn’t overly focused on Christmas so will still be enjoyable in the bleakness of January. In fact, I’d recommend it to take the edge off that ever-lasting month.
The take-home message was to have a little faith in the Christmas magic and to always treat your pixie well. Which is especially relevant if you end up taking a pixie home with you:
“The Pixie and the Pudding” runs from now until 2nd Feb 2020. For more details and tickets, click here.
Disclaimer: I received free press tickets in exchange for a review but all opinions remain honest and my own.