Tuesday, 19 December 2017

'The Box of Delights' at Wilton's Music Hall

This evening we went to see an epic battle of good and evil to save Christmas in 'The Box of Delights' at Wilton's Music Hall. I've never been to Wilton's before but it had a Christmas Tree in the (rather small) auditorium so it gets a thumbs up from me. It's actually the perfect setting for a play like this and it helped create a lovely atmosphere.

We had wolves (oh yes we did), magicians, magical boxes with the power to shrink you down to the size of a mouse, a witch who flew, a master jewel thief, a deluge and, best of all, Toby, a really clever dog who definitely wasn't a puppet.

Our hero is Kay Harker who is on the train to his guardian's house for Christmas when he meets an old Punch & Judy man who has a mysterious Box of Delights. The old man is being hunted by wolves in human form and he must ensure the box is protected at all costs. The wolves want the box for their lord who is an evil magician and wants to use it to time travel and wreak havoc (which is what evil magicians do). The evil magician needs to stop Christmas happening to save himself so he arranges for all the clerics in the cathedral to be kidnapped and imprisoned so there's no-one left to celebrate Christmas. And the clock is ticking, getting closer to Christmas Eve...

It's a dark tale of dastardly dealings and despair until Kay plucks up his courage to confront the evil magician to save his friend and save Christmas. A roller-coaster ride of ups and downs that I won't spoil for you here - you'll have to see it for yourself.

The best things about it were Matthew Kelly as the nice magician (he also played the evil magician) and Josefina Gabrielle as the evil witch who can fly (and she does). Both were on top form and a joy to behold (I'd cross the road to avoid that witch, just in case...)

There were some lovely, imaginative scenes, like when the old man opens the Box of Delights and we see a golden, be-jewelled phoenix flying around the stage before it smolders in its own embers. The designers have clearly put some thought into how to make this work in a magical way on that small stage. And, by and large, they succeed. It wasn't perfect by any means but I really enjoyed it. It made me leave the real world outside and slip gently into this magical world and share the perils and joys of this strange 1930s world.

Well done all, I really enjoyed it! And thank you for saving Christmas!

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