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December 21, 2016

Community Correspondent: Rudolf – West Yorkshire Playhouse

The Playhouse production of Rudolf was in the Barber Room. The passage leading to the Barber Room was lit by blue and white fairy lights. This really set the scene for entering into the fairy land setting of Rudolf where staff wearing reindeer antlers walked in through the door to greet guests into the Rudolf experience.

Rudolf, being a show for five-year-olds and under included babes in arms, toddlers, Mums, Dads, Grannies and Granddads with all the family enjoying the entertainment and background music of Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. 

The story tells of the birth of Rudolf and follows him through his childhood and schooldays. Rudolf was made conscious of his unusual nose at reindeer school and had an unhappy time of it. He wasn’t popular. His parents had always told him he was special and he thought he was. Even so, he still wasn’t a popular reindeer.

Rudolf had one great ambition in life. This was to lead Santa’s sleigh at Christmas. But he also knew that even though his parents said his nose made him a special reindeer — such an outstanding feature — a bright red nose might hold him back in life. The nose was emphasised by a light on the end of the nose flashing from time to time. Much to the amusement of the younger members of the audience.

There were only two actors in the show and they worked tremendously hard to keep the children and adults entertained. The scenery kept changing, so fairy land changed with it, but it was always eye-catching, colourful and interesting. 

Rudolf always wanted to pull Santa’s sleigh but only the best reindeer were called to do that. Rudolf knew that the best reindeer didn’t have a bright red nose to hold them back like he did.

One Christmas Eve fate intervened. Fog descended. Heavy, thick, black fog. Santa couldn’t deliver Christmas presents. Santa’s warehouse was full of toys. The elves had been busy all year long.

Whatever will happen?

This was Rudolf’s opportunity. Only Rudolf could guide Santa’s sleigh because his red nose allowed him to lead the way. Rudolf led Santa’s sleigh, with his prominent flashing red nose, and Christmas was saved. Santa and his reindeer were able to deliver presents to children all over the world.

After the show afternoon tea was served in the Playhouse community area. This gave me an opportunity to talk to the actors, along with some of the children and parents. It seemed that the red nose had made a big impression and I felt sure it would be remembered. 

I enjoyed the show immensely. As an older person, it took me back to my childhood. I especially liked watching the children’s faces and their reaction to the changing scenery and, of course, Rudolf’s big red nose. The actors played to the young audience well and included them in the story.

Rudolf lasted for 50 minutes, which I feel is about the right length for the age range.

By Margaret Bell