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Review: Dear Santa Live at the Ipswich Corn Exchange December 2022

With Christmas just around the corner Dear Santa Live delighted toddlers and preschoolers at the Ipswich Corn Exchange earlier this week.

Based on the book by Rod Campbell, who also wrote the classic Dear Zoo, the show had all the festive magic to put the audience in the perfect mood for Christmas.

Namely Santa, his funny elf, lots of presents, jingle bells and snow!

Last time I was in the Corn Exchange for a show I watched a Bon Jovi tribute act, it is fair to say Dear Santa catered for a slightly different audience, though arguably more rowdy.

The actors playing Santa, Elf and the heroine of the story, Sarah, were absolute pros at dealing with the background noise you would expect from a room full of young children and babies.

We all know that seeing Santa in the flesh can bring out all sorts of emotions!

Dear Santa brought the festive cheer to Ipswich earlier this week. Picture: Suzanne Day
Dear Santa brought the festive cheer to Ipswich earlier this week. Picture: Suzanne Day

The Dear Santa show was the perfect length for my two-year-old son who sat mesmerised throughout, sometimes climbing on to my knee to make sure he had the best view of the big man.

Quite a glowing review from a little boy who is scared of a great many things!

Without getting too soppy it felt like a special moment to see him enjoying his first show so much.

The show incorporated some Christmas tunes that adults and children could all have a little sing-a-long to and the homely set packed full of presents really made me smile.

Those that love a bit of audience participation were well catered for - with children encouraged to count along with the elf and practice their colours.

After the show there was an added surprise - we got to meet Santa and his elf in a grotto and collect a gift.

Thoughtfully there was also the option to bypass meeting Santa (but still collect a present).

I can't stress enough how great the staff were at the Corn Exchange, Clive the Usher in particular was so helpful and welcoming and definitely deserves to be on the nice list this Christmas.

He couldn't have done more.

As we left Santa and his elf in the grotto, we headed into the foyer where there were leaflets advertising Hey Duggee which is coming up at the Corn Exchange's sister venue The Ipswich Regent, in April 2023.

Leaflets for the hit CBeebies show were certainly proving popular with the little theatre-goers heading home.

And if you are on the look out for a family friendly show, the Regent's Christmas panto Peter Pan opens on December 16.

There is also an Easter panto planned!

Dear Santa is continuing its tour of the UK in the run up to Christmas, hopefully it will be back in Suffolk sometime soon.