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PREVIEW: Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas

Muddy takes a sneak peek at a theatre adaption of this classic Christmas comic cartoon strip for kids which flies into Warwick Arts Centre for the festive season until Dec 29.

If like me you’re a fan of Raymond Briggs’ cartoon strip illustration book Father Christmas, you’ll be pleased to hear Lyric Hammersmith’s critically-acclaimed stage adaptation is coming to our neck of the woods.

The 60-minute production, opens at Warwick Arts Centre this week. Perfect for three to six-year-olds, it follows Briggs’ grumpy but lovable Father Christmas getting ready for his busiest day of the year, Christmas Eve – humorously removing any romantic notions.

Directed by Emma Earle, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Pins and Needles production, is filled with live music, songs and playful puppetry.

When writing the book the Sussex-based author says he saw parallels between Father Christmas’s job and his father’s – who was a milkman and had to get up at 5 or 6am in all weathers.

Children can watch gleefully as he prepares his Christmas deliveries, feeds his reindeer and finally takes flight into the snowy night exposed to the elements in a motorised sleigh.

Andrew Fletcher, Warwick Arts Centre’s Programme Manager, said: “Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas is a modern classic by one of the greatest writer/ illustrators of our times. This lively hour live show brings that story beautifully to life, brimming with all the colour and magic of a perfect ‘blooming’ Christmas.”

First published in 1973, Father Christmas won Briggs the annual Kate Greenaway Medal for best children’s book illustration (his second win).

The artist turned author, who started his career in advertising and taught illustration at Brighton School of Arts, went on to write and draw many other hugely popular books for children, including The Snowman, Fungus The Bogeyman, Ug: Boy Genius Of The Stone Age, and The Bear. A later biographical strip illustration book, Ethel & Ernest (1998) – tells the story of how his father met his mother and how they continued to live in the same house for 41 years.

A guaranteed bloomin’ festive treat for littles ages 3+!

Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas lands at Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, on Wed Nov 27 until Sun Dec 29. Times vary. Tickets: £15-£19, Tel: 024 7652 4524,

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