We were invited to go see Jack & The Beanstalk Pantomime by the Writer & Director, Nik Briggs of York Stage. The Panto is at the small studio, John Cooper at Monkgate 41 until 3rd January. Along we went for this novelty family outing (It’s been a loooong time!) in our cheesy matchy matchy Christmas Jumpers ready for some festive fun.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect… I’ve been to the studio before (my girls have done rehearsals there) and it’s very intimate, how would they be able to bring the frivolity and fun of the panto to such a small space, while making it feel safe? Having been to York Stage Productions before… I was hopeful…
We arrived in plenty of time & we had our temperature taken at the door (using one of those thermometers that check your forehead without touching it) The entrance was decorated with beanstalks going up the stairs so immediately you felt immersed in the experience. Hand Sanitiser was available and there were toilets for use.
We were shown up to our seats and I was wowed when I got a peek at the set on the way up.. I don’t know what I was expecting but it’s been such a long time since we’ve been to a live show – it was just wonderful to see the colour and glitter of Panto once again.
The ‘Stage’ is in the middle of the room and there is a single row of seats either side then another row above each side too. We were seated on the top tier and had a fabulous view of the whole performance area. Audience members over 11 years need to wear a mask unless eating or drinking (or have a personal reason why they can’t) and every ‘bubble’ is completely separated by a perspex screen so, even for my slightly more cautious husband, it felt very safe indeed. For More info about all the Covid Secure Measures, visit the website HERE.
The show started a little late as they very kindly held off for a few late-comers (due to the way it’s set up – it’s important to arrive a little early if you can so that there is no rush to be seated) but we were entertained by the voices of Ben & Laura from the York Christmas Mix Radio who gave us a count down to ‘curtain-up’ – this was the first of many very localised touches… it really was a Pantomine by York Folk for York Folk.
As for the show – well what can I say.. .it just had absolutely everything you’d want from a Pantomime and more… the cast were absolutely top class.. from a beautiful kind fairy (Livvy Evans) with just a touch of sass, to a very handsome Jack played by Jordan Fox (mums… there are some enjoyable costumes here for you that don’t leave much to the imagination 😉) and the Dame Trott (Alex Weatherhill) was PERFECT! Some brilliant one-liners, OTT Costumes complete with oversized headgear and cow horns in all the right places.
It was absolutely packed with jovial song and dance – Jill (May Tether) had an absolutely stunning voice and the whole ensemble danced with such energy to brilliantly choreographed routines by West End ace Gary Lloyd. The Baddy, Flesh Creep (Ian Stroughair) was perfectly nasty – My youngest was just the right amount of scared with plenty of ‘Boo’s and Hiss’s’ and then when he smiled and waved at her at the end she was thrilled.
I think my favourite and memorable parts were around the script and the witty gags…. As tough as this year has been for many, it certainly made for some very fresh and relevant material which I felt they pitched perfectly to give us all a well needed giggle. The biggest laughs for me were around the social distancing, which had hilarious implications for Daisy the Cow, and the references to the Extra Vegan Beans (the type you might find on Bishy Road)… such funny, fresh and localised scripting that gave this classic Panto a current day, fresh twist.
There was probably about 50 people in the audience. As an audience member this was amazing… the whole show felt very intimate and it honestly felt like a really privilege to be there and having this experience – my girls loved being able to see the smiles and eye winks of the cast and really felt a part of it. As an adult and a lover of live performances and theatre I, however, also felt a little sadness. I knew that the implications for the company and the actors would be that their potential audience capacity was small… it was obvious that the whole show was a real Labour of Love.. a dedication by all involved that ‘The Show Must Go On’ and I felt so grateful that they had made this huge effort to do this. I wanted to say THANK YOU to them all and let them know how much we appreciate you bringing the magic of panto to our family and many more families in York.
If you haven’t booked tickets yet then please don’t hesitate – let’s show them that their efforts have been worthwhile and I’d love to see this show sell out completely.
To Book Your Tickets just go to the website HERE
Early Show Prices £22 (£20 Concession) apply for shows from the 11-17 December.
Premium Show Prices £27 (£25 Concession) apply for shows on the evening of 23 December and both shows on 24 and 26 December.
Standard Ticket Price £25 (£22.50 Concession) apply for the rest of the run.
Please note, as per government guidance, you will only be able to purchase up to 6 tickets. Please ensure you are only booking for people who are part of your household or support bubble. If you are in a household larger than 6 people please email us to book tickets.
York Stage gifted us these tickets for the Panto but everything written here is our honest view, we pinky promise we’ll always be honest with our Mumblers. This one is fab!
On arrival, hand sanitiser & a one way system is in place. Face masks must be worn in the cafe for visitors over the age of 11. The reindeer are situated outdoors. The cost is £1 per person to see the reindeer & half of the money raised is being donated to charity. A selection of reasonable priced meals (including kids meals), snacks & hot & cold drinks can be ordered in the cafe (table service only) & can be consumed either indoors or outdoors.
Two reindeer (one large & one small) can be seen in the outdoor play area, through the cafe. We loved watching the reindeer in their comfortable enclosure & they will sometimes cover over to say hello in between munching on their hay! The first time we visited was early morning during the week (with pre-school aged children) & the second time was after school just before closing time (with primary school aged children). On both visits it was reasonably quiet. On our second visit, one of the staff members gave the children some reindeer food to throw into the reindeer pen to coax them over. If the reindeer come close enough, you can stroke them.
As well as seeing the reindeer, children can play in the outdoor play area in the giant sand pit containing a play house, kitchen & buckets & spades. There are also climbing frames, a big slide, rocking toys & various ride on tractors, diggers & cars for the children to play on.
There is also a shop where items of food & gifts can be purchased on the way out.
The indoor play area & craft areas are currently closed.
Willow Farm cafe is open daily from 9am-4pm. Booking is not required to see the reindeer.
The address is : Willow House, York, YO32 2RH.
Free car parking is available outside the cafe with toilets & baby changing facilities available for customers to use.
Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Claire
When we were invited along to A Very Magical Christmas in York city centre we were really excited. We’d heard the great reviews of A Very Magical Adventure in October half term so had high hopes for the Christmas experience.
We met our Professor of Magic at St Michael the Belfry who welcomed us and chatted to the children making them feel comfortable. We were then taken on a magical quest through the streets of York with challenges to complete along the way. Our mission to find York’s secret magical school and help St Nicholas save Christmas.
The theatrical cast were amazing, weaving us through the York streets on a busy Saturday afternoon. It did not faze them. It was humorous and entertaining throughout.
Finally we discovered the secret location of the wizard school but even then there was another challenge to overcome before we could be granted access. Inside we met more characters who set out the rules of wizard school and led us through to our tables where we enjoyed a lesson in spell casting and potion making.
Here we were served our afternoon tea which was a wonderful array of sandwiches and sweet treats, much to the children’s delight! There was so much wonderful food we couldn’t eat it all! We also had a very special visit from old St Nicholas who told us stories of the past.
We ended our adventure by meeting St Nicholas and we were sent on our way with a few gifts from magic school.
We were really impressed by the cast and the range of characters over the course of the experience. So much effort has clearly been put into the costumes, locations, props and characters. It was a busy, fun filled 2 hours with so much packed into it.
We were a family of four, the children were 4 and 6 years old and were able to participate fully. Fans of witches, wizardry and magic school would be delighted by this adventure but even if you’re not it’s still a fun experience for all the family.
A Very Magical Christmas is running until 26th December. Magical happenings start from 12pm and can be booked online from £17.95.
Find out more on their website.
Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given complimentary tickets for A Very Magical Christmas in exchange for an honest review.
Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Jane
Beningbrough Hall is a hosting Peter Rabbit Activity Trail around its gardens. A goody bag is only £2 per child (card payments only) whilst stocks last. You get an activity sheet, pencil, certificate, badge and play pack.
The trail has been created in partnership with Penguin Random House UK and their support helps the National Trust continue to look after Beatix Potter’s legacy in the Lake District.
We had great fun on this trail around the gardens and grounds of Beningbrough all which is suitable for children of all ages. My daughter is 7 and had really enjoyed it. There were 10 characters to find, and additional questions to find out the answers to from reading the boards. Plus a little fun activity, like ‘hop to the next board’ was included on each sign. We also saw plenty of toddlers really enjoying looking for the clues whilst jumping in muddy puddles, so it works well across the age ranges.
The Beatrix Potter characters are nicely spread out throughout the grounds but also fairly easy to discover – we have done a couple of National Trust trails where we walked around A LOT trying to find everything, so on a chilly winter day I was quite thankful not to have to walk around in circles for 3 hours! 😂
There is a nice touch at the end where you can take your photo to congratulate yourself for finishing the trail! Or in my daughter’s case, an opportunity to pose! The pack is really great too and who doesn’t love a badge!
An Advertising feature for York Theatre Royal
“Off we went to New Earswick Hall for the 4.30 showing, wearing our Christmas Jumpers (of course!). We LOVE going to the panto, it’s our Christmas tradition and we just didn’t know if it would happen this year, but it did, it really did!!!!!
The venue itself had been well organised. The queue was well managed and the seating inside clearly labelled and well spaced. A system had been set up for ordering refreshments which were then delivered to you, it was clear a lot of thought had gone in to making it as safe and easy as possible for all the family. We felt safe and well looked after.
A special twist to this panto, you choose the show they perform, this time it was Jack and the Beanstalk. Of course we won’t ruin anything for you but there was plenty of foot stamping, giggles, socially distanced high 5’s, booing and hissing and singing, making this show the true “Essence of Pantomime”.
The travelling set was amazing, to say it has to be easily packed away and moved from venue to venue, it was very impressive. The cast was outstanding and i don’t say that lightly. A multi talented musical fairy, an evil villain with the most evil laugh, a highly flexible comic, a hilarious dame and a smashing hero to save the day.
I think what happened after the performance sums it up quite nicely. Elsie was in the car on the way home and started crying. “I don’t know why I’m crying because I’m so happy, I didn’t think we’d see a Panto this year and I just loved it so much”
Anything that makes my daughter cry tears of happiness after this year gets the biggest thumbs up from us!
Thank you so much York Theatre Royal, forget COVID, you’ve made this Christmas “
Don’t delay, very few tickets remain!!!
The Travelling Pantomime is a socially-distanced, 70-minute extravaganza, packed to bursting with your favourite panto moments; toe-tapping musical numbers, pun-tastic routines and plenty of audience fun.
But which panto will be performed? We’ll let you decide! At the start of each performance, we’ll be asking the audience to choose between three different panto favourites; Dick Whittington, Jack and the Beanstalk and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
What will happen when the baddie steals the joy of pantomime? Will Dame Dolly and her family manage to rescue it? Oh yes they will!
Joyous, uplifting and hilarious, The Travelling Pantomime is the perfect antidote to 2020.
The Travelling Pantomime is running from Fri 04 Dec – Wed 23 Dec
Cost: £10, £5 under 16s
Dates & Venues: (NB: Many venues & dates already sold out – check the website for the latest info HERE)
TANG HALL COMMUNITY CENTRE Friday, 4 December 16:30 & 19:00
NEW EARSWICK FOLK HALL Saturday, 5 December 16:30 & 19:00
DUNNINGTON READING ROOM Tuesday, 8 December 19:00
WIGGINTON RECREATION HALL Wednesday, 9 December 19:00
ST BARNABAS’ PRIMARY SCHOOL Thursday, 10 December 18:00
CLIFTON MOOR CHURCH & COMMUNITY CENTRE Friday, 11 December 16:30 & 19:00
ELVINGTON VILLAGE HALL Saturday, 12 December 16:30 & 19:00
POPPLETON CENTRE Sunday, 13 December 16:30 & 19:00
ACOMB PARISH CHURCH HALL Tuesday, 15 December 19:00
CARR JUNIOR SCHOOL Wednesday, 16 December 18:00
STRENSALL & TOWTHORPE VILLAGE HALL Thursday, 17 December 19:00
COPMANTHORPE METHODIST CHURCH Friday, 18 December 16:30 & 19:00
CLIFTON GREEN PRIMARY SCHOOL Saturday, 19 December 16:30 & 19:00
YORK PAVILION HOTEL Sunday, 20 December 16:30 & 19:00
HEWORTH CHRIST CHURCH Tuesday, 22 December 16:30 & 19:00
ARCHBISHOP HOLGATE’S SCHOOL Wednesday, 23 December 16:30 & 19:00
BOOK HERE via the York Theatre Royal Website
KEEPING YOU SAFE
Your safety is our highest priority and we have put a number of measures in place so that everyone has an experience that is safe, secure and enjoyable.
We’ve outlined more about what to expect from a visit to The Travelling Pantomime HERE.
IMPORTANT TICKETING INFORMATION
Bookers for The Travelling Pantomime will only be able to purchase tickets if you live in one of York’s 21 city wards – you can find out if you live in this area here. We’re restricting bookings this way because capacity is very limited at each venue due to social distancing measures and current government guidance advises against travelling into other regions. Please log in or create an account here to book tickets.
We are also restricting bookings to a maximum of six people, and bookings must be made from a singular household or support bubble.
Don’t live in the York area but still want to catch the show? We’ll be releasing an online broadcast of The Travelling Pantomime (oh yes we are!). Full details to be released very soon.
Book with confidence with our Flexible Ticketing Policy. If you or a member of your party is unwell and unable to attend a performance, please let our Box Office know in advance of the show by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to offer an exchange for another performance in the same production or credit voucher. We will also offer refunds if we are able to re-sell your ticket.
With a full refund promise if the performance is cancelled, you can book The Travelling Pantomime with confidence.
NB: Whilst these tickets were gifted to Mumbler, we will always write an honest review. no matter what the Panto villan says! Oh yes we will!
Advertising feature for City Cruises York
There are still a handful of tickets left on selected dates. And due to popular demand, City Cruises have added an additional sailing at 7pm on the 12th, 19th, 21st and 22nd of December.
There is a reason why families return year after year to board the City Cruises York Santa Experience, it really is their most magical event on the River Ouse!
Santa clearly works hard all year around and especially in December when he somehow manages to find the time to visit all of the especially well behaved boys and girls before Christmas and he tells City Cruises York that their Santa Experience is the most unique venue that he visits in the city.
Santa and his team have made a few changes this year, to make sure that they can offer you a secure and comfortable visit, without missing out on any of the fun:
And as always, each child will be hand delivered a personalised present from Santa whilst everybody on board will enjoy refreshments, fun and surprises, making this a Christmas treat to remember.
York Mumbler Leanne and her family visited in 2019. They said that on arrival they
“were all VERY excited and our expectations were well and truly exceeded”.
And there is no doubt as to who is the star of the show:
“Santa was FANTASTIC. My inquisitive 6 year old had various questions which were responded to superbly by a warm and friendly Santa. She later said: Aren’t we lucky the REAL Santa came today, not just someone who’s dressed up”.
Leanne said that they would definitely return:
“Well we will be returning! If you are looking for a Christmas experience, not just 3 minutes with Santa then this is definitely worth considering. If you would like a more relaxed and calm experience, this is the one to go to. If your child isn’t keen on long queues (who is?!), then this is right up your street and if you want the option to interact with Santa as much (or a little) as your child desires, then again this is what you are looking for.
We all left feeling suitably festive after a truly successful trip aboard!
Thank you City Cruises!”
City Cruises still have availability (at the time of writing) on the following sailings:
Saturday 12th December – 7pm
Saturday 19th December – 7pm
Monday 21st December –1pm, 5pm & 7pm
Tuesday 22nd December –1pm, 3pm, 5pm & 7pm
For full details, and to book your tickets today, click here.
Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Rebecca
This charming adaptation of the sweet stories by Benji Davies was a real pleasure to watch. York Theatre Royal, Little Angel Theatre and Engine House have produced the story of Noi and a very memorable ‘tail’ of friendship begins for these adorable characters.
“The story is about Noi who lives with his Dad and six cats by the sea. One summer, while his Dad was busy at work, Noi rescued a little whale that washed up on the beach. A friendship began that changed their lives forever.”
We were greeted upon arrival to the studio by sweet nautical tunes and an adorable set with an aquatic beach theme. It took us back to the soundscape from the summer at the seaside, but as the stage and set were later adapted for the second tale of The Storm Whale in Winter, there was a clear festive theme and a delightful Christmas song to bring us up to a more current season.
The cast of three worked hard to engage children and adults of all ages with song, movement and puppetry.
Cassie Vallance (vividly memorable for anyone who saw her in the Shakespeare pop-up theatre over the summer) is utterly transfixing as Noi; she brings humour and great emotion to the character’s plea for company and delicately presents the themes of loss and loneliness coupled with love and friendship. Little ones can really learn so much from this story.
The Studio gives us parents the gift of a safe and understanding place to bring young children to enjoy a live show. There were many children of all ages around us despite the suggestion of this being suitable for those aged 4 and up. It didn’t matter when a baby cried, or when anyone needed to pop out mid-scene to use the toilets, or even when one enthusiastic toddler cheered and slipped off his chair, as there’s an understanding from parents at these type of events. The staff, ushers and actors alike are supportive and helpful in any situation.
The play is an hour and 15 minutes in length with a short interval, but please don’t miss the second part as you really are in for a treat! These versatile actors not only sing but operate the puppets with precision and grace. We left with huge smiles after some special moments together – a lovely treat for you and your little ones this Christmas. I’m a huge fan of ‘experience gifts’ at this time of year like theatre tickets and trips out, and what a special gift this production is.
The Storm Whale is being performed in The Studio at York Theatre Royal in the mornings and afternoons at perfect times for children, until 4 January 2020.
Book tickets for the Storm Whale online at York Theatre Royal.
For more information see the details on York Mumbler.
For more Mumbler reviews of the theatres and attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.
Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given complimentary tickets for the Storm Whale at York Theatre Royal in exchange for an honest review.
Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Ashley
We were lucky enough to be invited to watch this year’s Grand Opera House pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
At the risk of sounding like an utter misery… pantomime hasn’t always been my favourite things, but I have to say, this was one of the most enjoyable pantos I’ve seen. I may well be a converted pantomime fan!
I knew that my 6-year-old, a theatre-loving boy would probably enjoy it no matter what. It’s always great to have a weekday treat and we were excited for an opportunity for some quality time together and to get us into the Christmas spirit…and it certainly did the trick.
Right from the opening scene, ‘Muddles’ and ‘Nurse Brexit’ got the audience involved and continued to bring plenty of giggles throughout. The panto stars Mark Little, the best baddie in Yorkshire, ‘Allo ‘Allo legend Vicki Michelle and man of comedy and magic Martin Daniels were all excellent.
Everyone from our very own town crier Ben Fry, right through to the dancers were exceptional and the wicked queen (my son’s favourite) brought plenty of ‘boos’ and ‘hisses’ in contrast to the delightful Snow White, Prince Rudolph and the seven, very cute dwarfs!
Our seats were brilliant up in the dress circle and we made the most of the little binoculars to hire (although we didn’t need them).
We enjoyed the usual interval treats…including delicious ice cream and my little one persuaded me to buy him one of the delightful flashing toys on offer on the foyer. Be aware they are a bit on the pricey side, but lots of fun.
The audience age range seemed to vary from about 2 or 3 years old, right up to someone who was celebrating their 96th Birthday.
We came out feeling full of cheer after a thoroughly enjoyable evening and I think I may well be a converted pantomime fan!
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions and shows in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.
Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given complimentary tickets for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Grand Opera House in York in exchange for an honest review.
Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Leanne
With our Christmas outfits on, off we went to see this years Pantomime at York Theatre Royal: Sleeping Beauty! I’ve taken my 6 year old a few times before to the theatre, but this year we planned a whole family trip, so mum, dad, our 6 year old, 3 year old and 6 month old went along.
We borrowed a couple of booster seats for the kids, although we were sat at the front of the dress circle, a GREAT position anyway and seats we would aim to get again when seeing other productions especially with younger ones.
The show started at 7.30 prompt with an interval and finished at 9.30ish.
There was a lovely friendly atmosphere in the audience, we had lots of positive reactions from people for taking the children to enjoy the panto.
The cast includes returning favourites Martin Barrass, Suzy Cooper and David Leonard and some exciting new members. We especially loved Funky the Flunky (played by Howie Michales). He can certainly hit the big notes when required! Berwick Kaler returned to both write and co-direct the Pantomime this year, so his sense of humour lives on!
There were some children in the cast, it was really inspiring for the kids to see them up there. They were hilarious too!
There’s a real caring vibe running through the panto. It’s clear the cast & all involved are passionate to ensure everyone has a good time and they are truly thankful for the support the York Theatre Royal panto repeatedly receives. They read out some special messages showing how many families return year after year as their Christmas tradition, one lady in the audience was there with her family for her 25th York Theatre Royal panto, you don’t return that many times unless its something special.
There were lots of little ones in audience including babies, toddlers and preschool aged kids up to a 90 year old lady celebrating her birthday, so panto really is for everyone!
The children don’t need to sit silently for 2 hours (whos children do that?!) as there’s clapping, booing, singing, plenty of interactive opportunities!
Our 6 month old was completely mesmerised. He literally stared at the stage for the first half without flinching, completely fascinated by the light and sounds (win!).
We were apprehensive about taking our feisty 3 year old out past her bedtime, but as it’s Christmas…. We were reassured when saw several others her age and really pleased we took her. 90% of the time she was sat in her own seat loving the dancing and singing especially (thankfully there’s lots of that!) There was a couple of toilet trips thrown in and a mini paddy when she had eaten all her sweets but I’m definitely calling that an overall success! She said in the car on the way home “I want to dance on stage” lovely 🙂
Our 6 year old REALLY got into it, obviously knowing the sleeping beauty plot inside out, she enjoyed the panto twists and enthusiastically joined in any audience participation opportunity! She sat on the edge of her seat, bopped, clapped, swayed and sung along, sporting a grin throughout. On the walk to school this morning she was listing her 7 favourite moments, she’s definitely going to be talking about this one for a while.
A princess, a villain, jokes, songs, dancing, silliness, fun, laughter and smiles, the perfect panto recipe. We all LOVED it (Oh yes we did!) A proper family show that left us with a warm Chrissmasy feeling inside, we now feel fully ready for the festivities ahead!
Sleeping Beauty is running from Sat 07 Dec 2019 – Sat 25 Jan 2020.
The show started at 7.30 prompt with an interval and finished at 9.30ish.
Tickets range from £24 – £33 although they are selling very well, so you will need to get booked in to avoid disappointment.
We parked in Bootham Row car park, just a couple of minutes walk from the theatre. Union Terrace car park is also very close by. It’s £2 after 6pm to park until midnight.
Click HERE to find out about all the Pantomimes and Festive Shows happening in York for Christmas 2019.
For more Mumbler reviews of the shows and attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.
Disclaimer: York Mumbler were given complimentary tickets for Sleeping Beauty at York Theatre Royal 2019 in exchange for an honest review.
Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Claire
What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than a festive magic show. We took our children aged 3 and 5 to see the Magic Hatter’s Christmas Cracker and what a treat it was! This was a first for us and it did not disappoint!
The Magic Hatter had our children enthralled from the start. With magic, lots of jokes (it is called the Christmas Cracker!), storytelling and songs, the Magic Hatter packs so much into one show. There’s plenty of opportunity for audience participation throughout which maintains the attention of children of all ages. There were also special guests including one famous scarlet clad visitor, much to the children’s delight!
If you are planning to see the show this weekend, put on your Christmas jumpers, elf costumes or Santa hats and get into the festive spirit. It’s a great way to ramp up the Christmas excitement and there’s plenty of laughs for the entire family.
Finally, there is a photo opportunity with the Magic Hatter and Father Christmas at the end so do allow extra time for that and remember, be festive!
The show is in the Hive theatre at Manor School. The seating is tiered so don’t worry if your seats are near the back as you will still have a great view.
The show is 1.5hrs long which includes a 15 min interval. Snacks and refreshments are available before the show and during the interval.
Free parking is available at the school, get there early for a space.
There are only a few tickets left so if you would like to go book quickly!
For more information about the Magic Hatter’s Christmas Cracker see the details on York Mumbler.
For more Mumbler reviews of the shows and attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.
The Magic Hatter is WINNER of York’s Best Birthday Party Entertainer 2016, 2017 AND 2018! Find out more information here..
Disclaimer: York Mumbler were given complimentary tickets for The Magic Hatter’s Christmas Cracker 2019 in exchange for an honest review.
Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Geoff
On a typically dank and dreary November evening, the opening night of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre York shone a bright spotlight on the north of our historic city. With a hippy 70s vibe; thanks to bright primary-coloured dresses, CND medallions and John Lennon specs, and its funk- and psych-inflected riffs – the story of Jesus’ final days demands to be felt and experienced, not just seen and heard.
A young Tim Rice, and Andrew Lloyd Webber first delivered the Billboard album chart success in mid-1970, finally setting Broadway alight a year later. Opening in London in 1972, JCS went on to become the longest-running musical in the West End.
Roll forward to 2019, and the York Musical Theatre Company directed by Paul Laidlaw drop us into the ‘peace and love’ decade. The Converse wearing Jesus (John Whitney) and Judas’ (Chris Mooney) casual cargo pants are suitably understated – the real stars are the ensemble – straight from the fields of Woodstock.
The elegant creative decisions need to be applauded, with fantastic hair and makeup work throughout. The stage itself also plays a leading role, with functional scaffolding providing a bleak centrepiece and giving the performance both depth and height. With deft lighting changes and the addition of red glowing lanterns, we are quickly transported into the depravity of The Temple which is only matched by Jesus’ subsequent wrath.
The hard-working cast and band put their all into the foot-tapping numbers; from the powerful ensemble songs Strange Thing Mystifying and Hosanna, to the soaring vocals of Blood Money. Chris Mooney’s Judas that really shines throughout whilst leaving room for Mary Magdelene’s (Marlena Kellie) tenderness and edge.
Not always an easy watch, and unapologetically so, this is a show that has impact and relevance in today’s world.
I went with my 16-year-old and I’d recommend it for parents with teens, or as a date night theatre trip. Given the content and the presentation, it’s perhaps best avoided by younger audiences. There are probably safer ways to introduce the Easter story to your little ones!
The Jo-Ro theatre is always a pleasure to visit, with free parking a short walk away [take a torch], lovely welcoming staff, and comfortable seating. The rake is also pleasing throughout the stalls and balcony, so a good view can be had from all seats.
Jesus Christ Superstar plays until Saturday 30 November and tickets range from £13 to £18.
For more Mumbler reviews of shows and attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.
Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given complimentary tickets for Jesus Christ Superstar at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre but all views are honest and our own.
Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Rebecca
I’m a huge fan of Charles Dickens’ writing and at this time of year like many of us, I enjoy a good festive sing-along, so was delighted to attend last night’s performance of Scrooge the Musical. This stage show, based on the timeless Victorian classic, is a version of the 1970 film musical by Leslie Bricusse. If you love musicals and enjoy getting into the Christmas ‘spirit’ during the seasonal build-up, then this is the show for you.
A packed ensemble of all ages cheered us with song and dance from the opening scene to the satisfying end. Scrooge – played Mark Hird was a delight to watch and listen to. He performed the transformation of Scrooge from moody old miser to likeable charity and people-loving giver fantastically. A real treat to watch from start to end. In my view, the show appealed to all ages with some witty one-liners which veered from Dickens’ original word but suitably fit the mood and broke the audience into laughter.
There were some sweet performances from the children in the cast which conjured up plenty of ‘Ahhhhhhs’ from the audience.
Tiny tim was, predictably, adorable and may bring a tear to the eye during the visit of the Ghost of Christmas yet to come! Another moment of really outstanding impressiveness was the performance by Frankie Bounds who played the younger Scrooge – this actor has an exceptional operatic voice and delivered an emotional parting from Scrooge’s long-lost Fiance, Fan.
There’s plenty of action, humour and excitingly, flying cast members (including the ghosts of course) and the stage sets and props helped to set the festive and familiar scene of Dickensian London. The special effects were not entirely seamless, but this was the opening night at the Grand Opera House so we can’t expect perfection. When the first actor was raised above the stage I felt more than slightly nervous, but this added to the thrill of the performance!
Not normally a fan of musicals, I felt that the songs were….. great! Catchy, clear and humorous lyrics which helped to emphasise aspects of the story such as Scrooge’s dislike of Christmas, charity, even people! One particular musical number had the audience singing out loud after the final curtain call. Surely the sign of an enjoyable show!
The performance I attended lasted 2 hours and 25 minutes, including the interval, so bear this in mind when taking mini mumblers. It is a late finish for the evening performances but in my view, a Matinee would be an ideal family event. Many schools study this story up to GCSE level (there were some school groups in the audience last night) so there’s even an educational motive for getting your school-age children familiar with the plot and characters!
The musical runs from now until December 1st so get your tickets now if you don’t want to miss this fabulous, feel-good, festive event!
For more information including details of special offers see the full details on York Mumbler.
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here and the special CHRISTMAS REVIEWS area for all things festive this year.
Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given free tickets for Scrooge at the Grand Opera House but all views are honest and our own.
Review by Mumbler Leanne and family
It was our first trip to see Santa as a family of five (6yr, 3yr & 5 month old). We were all VERY excited and our expectations were well and truly exceeded.
We arrived 15 minutes early as advised at the boatyard. It’s had a festive makeover and is the perfect escape from any winter weather. There’s plenty of space in the secure “reindeer pen” to leave buggy’s and some photo opportunities in Santa’s sleigh.
The time soon came to board. We were welcomed onto the boat by Mary Christmas and shown to a table. The Christmas tunes were playing!! There was plenty of space for all our belongings (all that baggage you need when you have a trip out with the family!) and it was warm and cosy on the boat so we didn’t need our coats on anymore. The children cracked straight on with all the activities set out for them on the table, colouring, designing and more. We received our refreshments. Included in the tickets is a glass of wine or tea/coffee for the adults, along with a mince or apple pie. The children had a juice drink and a Christmas biscuit. The kids ate their biscuits along with my mince pie, i clearly wasn’t quick enough!
I won’t ruin the magic and surprise of the day but there’s lots of special little ways the Christmas magic is brought to life and lots of opportunity to see surprise and excitement on the little ones faces. Actually, forget that, the adults were just as excited!! It was really lovely!
Santa handed out carefully selected gifts to the children. Your child’s age and sex is asked for when booking and great care had clearly been taken in choosing the gifts. All aboard were really pleased with what they had received and my girls got straight on with the crafty gifts they had been given.
“How did Santa know i would love this?!”
What made this experience so special for us, and what really sets it apart from others is what happened next. Santa sat in his Christmassy corner and all aboard were invited to interact with him (or not) as they wished at their pace, in their time, in their way. This took all the pressure off. No long queue to meet him, no upset and tantrums when you reach the front with children unwilling to pose for a photo! (we’ve all been there right?!). My girls were keen to show Santa the colouring in they had done and thanked him for their gift. I returned later with my little boy on his own when he was happy to get a Santa photo, an option i wouldn’t have had if it was the traditional setup. Santa soon had him smiling. Santa was FANTASTIC. My inquisitive 6 year old had various questions which were responded to superbly by a warm and friendly Santa. She later said
“Aren’t we lucky the REAL Santa came today, not just someone who’s dressed up”.
I felt relaxed and at ease the entire time. Something if i’m honest, i rarely feel when out of the house with 3 children! The environment was perfect for a toddler (even my disaster prone runaway). The space was safe and contained. There was room for her to potter about and soak up the atmosphere, but i could see her at all times. It was absolutely ideal. There’s a toilet to use aboard also, always handy!
The hour flew by, full of Christmas activities and interaction with the great staff aboard. My girls both had their face painted (impressive results even with a fidgety one!) all included in your ticket. Again, there’s no pressure to do this, some did, some didn’t and some had their hand painted instead.
The boat didn’t sail today due to the high river levels. Honestly, it didn’t take anything away from our experience. We were enjoying everything so much and had the lovely river views. We did receive a voucher to use at another time (of our choosing) to enjoy a city cruises boat ride, so that’s to look forward to!
Well we will be returning! If you are looking for a Christmas experience, not just 3 minutes with Santa then this is definitely worth considering. If you would like a more relaxed and calm experience, this is the one to go to. If your child isn’t keen on long queues (who is?!), then this is right up your street and if you want the option to interact with Santa as much (or a little) as your child desires, then again this is what you are looking for.
We all left feeling suitably festive after a truly successful trip aboard!
Thank you City Cruises!
Adult (16+) prices from £13
Child (1+) prices from £16
Infant under 1 prices from £0
***Special promotion code – BE QUICK****
For the Santa Experiences on Saturday 30th November & Sunday 1st December, use the code “YORKSANTA20” and receive a 20% discount on all tickets.
Tickets can be booked up to 24 hours before.
For all the information you need to enjoy a family Christmas in York, check out the Mumbler Christmas pages.
Disclaimer: We were kindly invited along by City Cruises to review the Santa experience today, however we would never be dishonest in our review, not even for Santa!!!! He totally pulled it out of the bag and we had the best time!!!
Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Vicky
My two boys and I were lucky enough to attend the Minster FM Press Preview Night at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland. This attraction as been held at the York Designer Outlet for 15 years and plays host to the largest outdoor ice rink in the North of England.
At the preview evening, we were treated to a yummy hot chocolate in the cosy alpine-themed, apres-skate café before watching the lights being turned on by local hero Elliot Bond, age eight. Then the Town Crier declared the ice rink open! After the fantastic lights were turned on there was an ice skating demonstration by two British top skating competitors. In the middle of the ice rink is an impressive 30 ft high Christmas tree.
There is no minimum age to go on the ice rink. If you can walk, you can skate! The smallest ice skates available are toddler size 8. My boys, age 5 and 7 both had a penguin to push along in front of them and support them skating, though I realised afterwards that my 7-year-old should have had a snowman, the next size up from a penguin, based on his height. We had a lot of fun whizzing gracefully (or should I say plodding, slowly….!) around the rink.
Afterwards, we visited the vintage fair which is also part of the Winter Wonderland and had a go at the ‘ hook a duck’. There are also several small vintage style rides to go on.
Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland makes a fun day or evening out to get you into the Christmas spirit. Though when the Town Crier started his song, ’39 sleeps ‘til Christmas’ it made me feel a little stressed that I need to get my list writing and shopping underway!
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.
Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given free tickets for the press preview evening at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland at the Designer Outlet York in exchange for an honest review.
Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Lisa
The Castle Museum is always a unique and interesting attraction to visit, entertaining and educating mini Mumblers of all ages. In the festive run-up, the museum is transformed into a traditional Christmas experience, inspired by Dickensian times.
This Christmas Experience features a fantastic and engaging adaptation of the Dicken’s classic, ‘A Christmas Carol’ followed by an entertaining and interactive opportunity to meet the main man himself…Father Christmas.
Whilst waiting for the Festive Experience to begin, we were entertained by a brilliant magician, in character from Victorian times, as well as a trip to the sweet shop on the recreated Victorian Street. A great idea to bribe and cajole mini Mumblers into good behaviour! Our two boys ate their chocolate and sugar mice and we were entertained by Fagin trying to persuade them to join his gang.
The atmospheric recreated Victorian Street Kirkgate provides the perfect backdrop for a very professional and entertaining adaptation of the classic ‘A Christmas Carol’. Audience members are invited to take part in some of the key roles in the story.
Props were dispensed to the audience to get into character and then the classic tale of festive self-enlightenment and redemption began. With one innovative actor, and the use of clever props and different areas of the street, Scrooge’s story was faithfully recreated through an abridged version, that will entertain people of all ages.
No Christmas experience is complete without the presence of the man in red and the Castle Museum offered a unique and interesting twist on the standard Santa meet and greet experience.
We were ushered into an atmospheric Victorian parlour room and each child was provided with a Christmas card to decorate and write their name and Christmas list on.
The festive atmosphere was built up with an outstanding rendition of the classic festive poem, ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ by a charismatic actor who managed to bring it alive to both excited children and parents alike.
All the cards were hung on the mantlepiece and, following some excellent sound effects, Father Christmas duly appeared down the chimney, to the audible delight of all the young believers.
He did not disappoint and had the most traditional and detailed costume you could imagine. Every child was given a special present for Christmas and the opportunity for photos and to get on the nice list, before the big day.
The Castle Museum has managed to create a truly magical Christmas experience that plays out in the atmospheric Victorian Street. As well as being thoroughly entertaining, it also provides culture and education by transporting children back to Victorian times, immersing them in classic Dicken’s, as well as of course giving the opportunity to meet Father Christmas.
This experience adds to the deserved reputation York has built up as one of the most festive of places in the UK. As the museum is located in the heart of the City, you can also immerse yourself in everything that the ever-popular St Nicholas Fair has to offer on Parliament Street has to offer to finish off a truly unique Christmas family trip.
For more information about the Christmas Experience at the Castle Museum, York see the full details on York Mumbler.
See more information about the Castle Museum, York here.
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.
Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given free tickets for A Dickensian Christmas at the Castle Museum York in exchange for an honest review.