It is a much-loved Oscar-winning family favourite at Christmas, but Miracle on 34th Street is equally as adorable and entertaining as a stage musical.
It opened last night (Friday) at Peterborough’s Broadway Theatre and kept a full house enthralled from the breathless 10-minute long opening number and parade involving the entire company.
That and the brilliantly worked courtroom scene at the end were the highlights.
It is of course the tale of Kris Kringle, employed as Santa Claus at the famous New York store Macy’s who insists he really is Santa, and is a heartwarming, sincere tale about believing and having faith that steers well away from over sentimentality.
It is a non-stop, fast paced feast of song and dance. The choreography - and there is lots of it - is brilliantly executed, packed with energy from the ensemble.
Apart from the likes of It’s Beginning To Look A Bit Like Christmas, the songs aren’t instantly recognisable but the singing throughout is excellent - and I particularly liked That Man Over There, which had me humming and clapping on the way home.
Young Hannah Thompson is excellent as schoolgirl Susan Walker who thanks to her sceptical mum Doris, doesn’t believe in anything she can’t see, taste or smell, but is eventually won over by the kindly old Mr Kringle, 21-year-old Danny Lane who is an incredibly convincing white bearded old gent thanks in equal parts to talent and the costume and make-up department. He even sang as an old man - a terrific performance from him.
Claire Hawkins sang beautifully as disbeliever Doris Walker, who carries the story well with Fred Gaily, the equally talented Carl Lindquist who wins the day, and her heart - although he did veer off into Jim Carrey at one point in the court scene!
And Brendan Matthew sang, danced and provided a few laughs too as Marvin “Sing It” Shellhammer, the overly enthusiastic Christmas Macy’s store executive.
The only disappointment, it is only here for three shows - there is a matinee and evening show tonight - if you can get a ticket. Contact the box office on 01733 822225.