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Claus - The Musical

Claus - The Musical

From the writer of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz comes the world premiere of Claus The Musical. Based on the beloved children’s book The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum, this brand-new musical is as magical as Christmas itself.

With spellbinding songs from Andy Collyer, heart-warming storytelling, enchanting sets, and a whole load of festive fun, discover the story of Claus and how he became a man forever in our hearts, and on Christmas Eve, forever in our skies.

Abandoned as a baby in the magical Forest of Burzee, he is gifted to Necile, a wood nymph, who showers him with love and names him Claus. With a helping hand from the mystical inhabitants of the forest – Fairies, Knooks and Ryls – she teaches him that kindness is the most important lesson of all, a gift that Claus eventually shares with us, as he embarks on a journey to bring the miracle of Christmas to the whole world.

Adapted for the stage by Simon Warne, Claus will warm the hearts of kids from 1 to 92, and is a truly joyful production for the whole family to cherish and enjoy together.

Make Christmas in 2022 unforgettable and book now!

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Claus - The Musical ON TOUR

Our review on Claus - The Musical

Claus The Musical - The Lowry, Salford - Friday 16th December 2022 by Karen Ryder

Our Rating

You can’t help but form ideas about things you don’t know.  It’s the way our brain tries to make sense of the world.  We do it when we speak to someone on the phone that we’ve never met by imagining what they look like, we do it when we pass judgement on the child who appears to be having a tantrum in the middle of a supermarket when we have no background to the truth of the situation, and most of the audience did it tonight with Claus The Musical.  We thought had a vague idea of what we were coming to watch this evening, and were intrigued, fascinated and surprised to be presented with something totally unexpected that makes you view Christmas in a whole new way.  This inventive and imaginative take on everyone’s childhood hero puts love and selflessness right at the heart of the show and is the driving force throughout, empowering the legend that is Claus to be born.



Claus is engaging and immersive from the second you walk into the theatre.  Make sure to get to your seat in plenty of time as the cast work their way through the theatre, interacting with the audience, encouraging children to help with the numerous ribbon style buntings that are being draped across the auditorium, and watching in awe as sheets, props and even a pretend baby are lowered from the higher tiers.  The cast happily chat away with you, and this is a wonderfully exciting and welcoming way to enter the theatre and create the presence of warmth, love, acceptance, inclusion and family – all themes that run beautifully throughout the show.



As Claus officially begins, a narrator leads us into the story of ‘how the boy became a Man and how the Man became a legend’, and it all starts deep within the magical Forest of Burzee.  We are quickly introduced to the concept that the forest is inhabited by nymphs, fairies, knooks and Ryls, each of whom have their own unique skillset and cohabit to keep their world safe.  Mystical character names of the Kings, Queens and leaders are introduced and there is a lot of information to wrap your head around in a short space of time, trying to remember and follow which character belongs to which forest community, what their names are, and what their powers are, so I felt a little bewildered.  It transpires that a baby has been abandoned in the forest and Necile, assistant to the Queen (I think) wants to keep it and raise it as her own.  No human has ever been allowed to live in the forest of Burzee before so this is voted on by all the communities and it is agreed he can stay so long as he stays away from the dark side of the forest.



But as Claus grows into a young and curious boy, his natural desire to explore a forbidden area takes over and he encounters King Awgwa, enemy to everyone and everything Claus has been raised with.  King Awgwa repeatedly tries to kidnap Claus and raise him as his own, but Claus wants to visit the human world with his own King Ak.  It is during these visits that Claus learns the power of kindness and generosity, particularly with children and starts making toys to bring them pleasure.  In return, they are happier and behave better, else they simply won’t get a toy!  But King Awgwa cannot leave things be and so in his shape shifting form, and ability to stay hidden from humans, he finally kidnaps Claus and manipulates children everywhere into being naughty.  Beside herself, Necile sets off to find her missing son, and offers herself in his place.  But kindness always wins and as Claus discovers the reasons behind King Awgwa’s behaviour and offers him redemption, we are transfixed as we watch the enchanting tale of how Claus becomes the Santa Claus we all know and love today.  Based on ‘The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus’ by L. Frank Baum (The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz) Claus is a heartening prequel to the legend we all grew up with, providing an enchanting backstory to the man who spreads the miracle of Christmas across our skies and into our hearts.



The set and staging of Claus are glorious.  It is like a magical playground, with balconies to climb, poles to slide down, cubby holes to hide in, and ledges to jump off and over.  It really does provide a playful vibe and combined with the lighting and intricate costumes, it is so easy to believe you are indeed in the enchanting forest of Burzee.  Stewart J. Charlesworth (set & costume designer) and Aaron J. Dootson (lighting designer) have collaborated so beautifully to create a seamless and believable setting that allow the entire show to come to life.  The ingenious use of otherwise bland props throughout this production is brilliant.  In particular, the use of a ladder is transformative throughout, permitting the nooks and crannies of the forest, a bed, and even Claus’ sleigh!  Characters are able to climb it when it is supported only via other actors, and I became engaged simply by wanting to see how it would be utilised next. 



Shadow puppetry is also used to help guide the story onwards, and the blending of storytelling techniques only add to the folk tale essence.  Small coloured flashlights create moments of serenity and beauty, ribbons define boundaries and areas of danger, swathes of white material engulf the stage in winter snow, and simple but effective costume changes allow this talented cast to play more than one role throughout, culminating in a true ensemble piece.  There was a lot of detailed work with the extended tail of Shiegra the lion, with other cast members controlling it independently and whilst it was fascinating to watch, and I’m sure it had meaning in the original story, I didn’t understand what that meaning was as I don’t think it was mentioned.  Apologies if it was and I missed it.  I only mention it as I wanted to know and follow every element of this magical story.  



New musicals create new songs and Andy Collyer has provided the musical theatre world with a whole host of new and mesmerising melodies.  As in any musical, you can’t help but have a few favourites and for me they were the heart melting A Mother’s Love, the fun and rebellious Only If You’re Good, and the spine tingling A Star On A Christmas Night.  What I particularly loved about the music was the intricate and beautiful harmonies and Christmas choir feel they provided, convincing me that this music will stand the test of time.  Georgie Buckland as Necile had the privilege of singing A Mother’s Love, and we had the privilege of hearing her.  Her voice is crystal clear and despite playing a mythical wood nymph, her acting was completely natural, and she set the perfect tone to take us on this wonderful journey.  Harry Winchester was so likeable as Claus and embodied the different stages of his life with ease.  He seemed so natural and relaxed on stage that it was a pleasure to watch.



Jazz Evans was a fantastic baddie that we love to hate, then love again as King Awgwa.  The physicality, voice, energy and delivery of dry humour provided a perfect contrast to all the love from the other characters and created the ideal balance to stop the show from being too sickly sweet, without it equally pulling away from the strong message of love and kindness.  This is actually quite a heavy demand for just one character but with a Rik Mayall style delivery, it was brilliantly achieved, and the most interesting character for me.  Alwyne Taylor guided us warmly as the Narrator and felt like our safe pair of hands in this magical forest.  Always there, always smiling, always exuding warmth, she played a pivotal role throughout the entire production.  Junior Delius commanded the stage as Ak and was entirely believable as the King of the forest.  Chris Draper as Will Knook provided comedy with the amusing grumpy character and fun responses.  Jessica Lim was agile as Shiegra, with charming movement and a lovely partnership with Claus.  Michael Kholwadia as Ryl Prince, Mari McGinlay as Zurline and Corrine Priest as The Fairy Queen completed the main cast and exuded talent, whilst Nic Cain, Emily George, Simon Oskarssonand, and Emily Tang completed the ensemble with strength and each with an individual flair.  Every cast member brought something unique to this production, and their ability to consistently switch roles without any confusion to the audience is a credit to both their talent and the direction of Kate Golledge.



The first half of Claus is full of folk tale style imagination, creating a fantasy world that is reminiscent of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where magic, fairies and mythical creatures are alive with a spirit of wonder and goodness.  It is very dreamy, very calming, very fabled.  The second half feels much more about Christmas, with a different kind of magic filling the air, an anticipation, and a beautiful spirit and joy that we all want to feel at this time of year.  Just when you think the story has come to its natural conclusion, there is a wonderful surprise right at the end that even the most earnest audience member didn’t foresee, and it leaves you overflowing with that squishy warm sigh of love and joy, and for me with a little bit of unexpected emotion.  Claus is a very different take on the story of Christmas, and even though I started out a little overwhelmed, I was completely won over by the end.  I would advise it is for children no younger than 6 for there is a lot of story to absorb, and it takes until the end to reach the Claus they know and love, but for anyone older, it is worth going on the journey and truly getting to know the man, the myth, and the legend that is Claus.  




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