Hutch and Stu are burrowing in for Christmas. Christmas carrot at the ready, Hutch is looking forward to a peaceful festive day until Stu reveals that they have some unexpected guests – they’ve invited us (the audience) for dinner! Hutch is excited but trepidatious: one carrot is plenty for two bunny rabbits but not nearly enough for all of us. The rabbits decide to grow us a Christmas dinner, with a little help from the multi-purpose Season Turner; the show’s title gives us a clue about the outcome.
The Enormous Christmas Turnip is a 50-minute show for children aged two to seven – and there were plenty toddler-sized children and up in this audience who seem perfectly enthralled. Performers Ivor MacAskill and Rosana Cade deliver captivating age-appropriate performances. Their new show blends storytelling, music, and song with a beautiful array of props and puppets and just the right amount of audience participation. We’re invited to sing along to help the seeds grow once they’re planted – then we’re enlisted into protecting the seeds as they germinate from invading crows.
While MacAskill and Cade’s rabbits are hippety-hoppety, nose-twitchingly perfect, Ailie Cohen‘s stage design should get equal billing. The set is versatile, colourful, suitably seasonal, and – ably assisted by Cade – supports the seeds in their growth to banquet-worthy sizes. Puppets form an array of extra characters, including pesky crows. A cameo from the Elvis-inspired turnip seed is a particular highlight. Andrew Gannon’s lights help the burrow to hop seamlessly across the seasons with an extra twinkle added for the festive time. Yas Clarke‘s sound design incorporates nicely evocative mood music and catchily join-in-able tunes.
Alongside the charmingly depicted quest to welcome guests to dinner, this enormous turnip is also an excellent advert for the wonders of growing your own for a generation of children who might not take this for granted. With regular showings at the Festival Theatre Studio until the end of the year, The Enormous Christmas Turnip is an all-round festive treat.