The Magic of Christmas

Pitlochry Festival Theatre online

Neil Cooper


Pitlochry’s usual Christmas extravaganza may have been kicked into touch, along with pretty much every other piece of seasonal entertainment, but that hasn’t stopped the potential for festive fun.

In the very magical Tinsel and Tartan shop in Stirling, shopkeepers Clare Grogan and Colin McCredie open the door on a festive yarn, in which cheeky elves Lari and Hari go in search of the North Star after losing it in a sci-fi styled Black Hole.

Our dynamic duo’s journey begins with an advent styled take on The Twelve Days of Christmas, before they seek advice from Grogan’s Mrs Claus, who sings Jingle Bells in her Garden of Art, where stories grow, music blossoms, and the power of the imagination holds sway. Only a trip to outer space, where McCredie’s Santa is already in flight, can bring Christmas home.

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Filmed after dark and recorded in Covid-safe conditions in PFT’s enticingly icy looking garden, this 30-minute living grotto of a show based on a short play by Newman and associate director Amy Liptrott makes a virtue of the circumstances, and works miracles to bring it to life.

Driven by the fairground organ arrangements of Barbara Hockaday, who also plays Lari alongside Ali Watt as Hari, it manages to create a musical wonderland. Much of this comes from Newman’s production design, given a sense of even more wonder by Jeanine Byrne’s translucent lighting. All of which makes for a family-friendly experience to cherish.