Rudolf is an utterly charming Christmas show (4 stars)

Rudolf is an untterly charming Christmas show

The red-nosed fella teaches us all it's OK to be different

The two performers aren't the only ones who deserve a round of applause at the end of this charming festive show – the set needs a whoop from us, too. Rustic and rural, with doors and flaps that allow it to morph into different places as the story progresses, plus a nifty pole to climb up, the whole stage is a joy to look at.

Inhabiting this pastoral world with the kind of joy and enthusiasm you wish could be bottled, actors Laurie Brown and Martin Donaghy deliver a tale we already know well, but with a clever slant.

Awaking on Christmas morning to empty food cupboards and no pressies, the duo beg their hen to lay them an egg. Yes, she says, but you need to tell me a story first. And so the life of Rudolf unfolds, taking us from the tiny reindeer's birth to that eventful night when he lights the way for Santa. Brown and Donaghy play everyone we meet along the way, from Rudolf's mum to the mean girl at Reindeer School, with just a simple hat to aid characterisation.

For younger children (three and under) the show dips and rises in terms of engagement, and could probably use a little interaction or a few more 'suddenlys' to keep them hooked. But for those old enough to grasp the show's central message – that it's not just OK to be different, but positively encouraged – Rudolf has enough to keep eyes and ears focussed at the theatre, and to keep the conversation going afterwards.

Platform, Glasgow, until 17 Dec.

Rudolf

Classic tale of the red nosed reindeer.

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