Narrator: Lynn Whitehead
Reviewer: Flip Miller
With all the stress and mayhem in the lead up to the big day the Theatre Royal invites us to pull up a chair and take time out to listen to some seasonal tales. Lynn Whitehead entertains us in a festive looking Premier Bar decked out beautifully to give an intimate feel to these readings.
Whitehead has a look of your favourite, if slightly dotty, Grannie. Whitehead, as you would expect does not launch into the main attraction. She starts with a Robert Louis Stephenson poem about the winter solstice as today is the longest day. Surprisingly there is a structure to the presentation. Whitehead takes us from the 21st December right through to the Epiphany with a number of poems and anecdotes.
She engages with her audience – both little kids and big kids alike. Her anecdotes are witty, well researched and relevant to the subject matter. She is also conscious of making sure that the children aren’t scared. She reads Henry Van Dyke’s version of the Foolish Fir because “the Hans Christian Anderson version doesn’t have a very nice ending”.
Then onto the main event – the classic poem by Clement C Moore. The poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is nearly as old as the theatre but it still has a magical quality. Whitehead really brings the words off the page. Her enthusiasm for the poem, which she recites from memory, and her gestures really do bring this beautiful poem to life.
Then to round off she tells us the story of the Italian witch La Befana. Whitehead is at pains to make sure that we know that La Befana is a good witch.
If you weren’t feeling festive before you certainly will when you leave.