What the Reindeer Saw

GERARD MCCABE, ALAN MCKEE, JO DONNELLY

Authors: Conor Grimes & Alan McKee

Director: Tony Devlin

Producer: Lyric Theatre

Christmas at the Lyric sees comic acting duo Grimes & McKee back in residence with a quartet of dim but perspicacious four-legged friends in tow.

The focus is on a crisis in the Claus family business. Within the frosty round of Ciaran Bagnall’s crystal bauble setting, Santa Junior (Alan McKee), a podgy rich boy with Trumpish overtones, has taken over from his father and grandfather.

He is hell bent on modernising the operation and making the North Pole great again, but he proves incapable in both departments, as well as in his marital duties to his voracious wife (Conor Grimes).

His conscientious assistant Cornelia (Rosie McClelland) is frantic, his elfish workforce is up in arms and his trusty reindeer are upset. Tony Devlin’s exuberant direction generates surreal humour, scripted and unscripted.

On one side of a cheerfully unruly script is the saucy Grimes/McKee storyline, on the other is the uproarious Jo Donnelly/Gerard McCabe partnership, which switches between revolting elves, snarling special agents, mumbling mechanics and rutting reindeer.

Sometimes the dots between them do not completely join up but no matter.

The whole thing rocks along to Rod McVey’s rollicking live keyboard score and the merry mishmash delivers a generous dollop of fun and laughter.

First published in The Stage – 24 November 2017

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