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Sunday, December 13, 2015


McIlroy makes an excellent Santa albeit thinner, grumpier, and highly-stressed. (Review by Keith Millar)

Funny Father Christmas is a delightfully entertaining Christmas production recently staged at uMhlanga’s opulent Grace Family Church which proved to be an excellent venue for a theatrical presentation such as this.

I was surprised, as I am sure were many others, to see that Aaron McIlroy was to play Santa. How was this possible? Lovable rolypoly old Santa is full of good cheer and bonhomie, and certainly not given to the frenetic madcap mayhem that is McIlroy’s comedy.

However, McIlroy was excellent. He played a thinner, grumpier, and highly-stressed Santa who was going through a mid-life crisis. He was feeling the effects of having to provide presents for everyone despite the world’s population boom.

He was very funny in the role and got up to most of his high energy antics. He did manage, however, not to scare the children in the audience – or at least not much.

Patrick Kenny played the deliciously evil villain, Cecil Serpentine. He sees that Santa is not at his best and decides to take over the whole North Pole and thereby put himself in a position to enslave everyone in the world and make lots of money.

It is left to Santa’s wife Mary Christmas, played by songstress Haylea Hounsom, and a gang of about 20 elves to save the situation and ensure that every child gets a present, and that the spirit of Christmas lives on.

The show is a celebration of fun, comedy song and dance. The elves played by a remarkably talented group of youngsters between the ages of 10 and 16 are all charm and cuteness. They sing a variety of music from Christmas Carols to contemporary Christmas hits. There are also some moments of beautiful and graceful dance provided by the youngsters. I am sure that there is more than one future star amongst this group.

This innovative and professional standard show was presented by McBob Productions. It was written by Aaron McIlroy and Patrick Kenny. Musical direction was by Shelley McLean, choreography by Leigh Meyer and lighting by Michael Broderick.

The attractive set which included snowmen, a large Christmas tree and a rustic log cabin had a distinctly festive feel and was the perfect backdrop for the performers.

The church auditorium is surprisingly well-equipped with lighting and sound and has two very big screens which were used for the projection of Christmas images .These technical aspects of the production were excellently handled and certainly added to the quality of the production.

To finish off, I quote my four year-old grandson’s comments after the show – “I love you guys and I loved the Christmas party play as well”. Christmas spirit is alive and well. – Keith Millar