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Review: Alice & Bob…, Pegasus Theatre

A madcap, heartwarming Christmas show for kids at the brilliant Pegasus Theatre in Oxford. Let the wrapping paper battle commence!

I’ve always had a soft spot for Pegasus Theatre in Oxford, up the Iffley Road in a coolly bohemian part of town but catering to children, young adults and the disadvantaged. It does great, inventive things but hasn’t really shouted its success loud enough sometimes.

Alice & Bob’s Whopping Christmas Cracker Show/Party is Pegasus’s festive offering and I took my 9 and 11 year old to check it out. Like Pegasus itself, the show is inclusive, a bit wacky, and loads of fun, taking the premise that everyone in the audience is literally part of Alice & Bob’s family and that we’re all together to join in their Christmas party.

Alice and Bob are the loveliest double act on the planet, him goofily American and armed with a ukelele, she almost doll-like with her rosy cheeks and sticky-out skirts.

The auditorium is small at Pegasus and so it’s a very intimate environment – with the lights turned up for the first bit of the show there’s nowhere to hide, and my son was hoiked onto stage to join in an alternative 12 days of Christmas (he asked for a Kindle Fire since you asked!). Another time both went up on stage to blow kazoos. Neither of my kids are of the jazz-hand variety, but the inclusive, ‘family’ vibe allowed them to enjoy their moment.

There’s a loose narrative to the show based on playing a series of party games – some of those, like the wrapping paper throwing war, were interactive and totally hilarious. Others, like when Alice and Bob played a pair of squabbling turtle doves in plastic bird hats were very funny. But the final scene also managed to deliver a touching Christmas message about helping others without being mawkish. It was very well done.

At 1 hour 10ish it runs through without an interval and I’d say it’s best suited to 4 – 12 year olds who, I’m convinced, will absolutely love it. I was laughing too, it was a real surprise hit for me.

After the show was a kids disco in the café that we couldn’t stay for (and in truth, my children would have blank refused to dance in), but particularly if you have younger, more freeform kids it’s a lovely idea and in keeping with the show too.

If you decide to give it a try, the brilliant Magdalen Arms pub is right next door (book – you’ll have no hope of a walk in at this time of year), and Oli’s Thai is nearasdammit opposite so you’re in good gastromic company.

 

Alice & Bob’s Whopping Christmas Cracker Show/Party ends on 27 Dec and costs £14/£10.50. Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Rd, Oxford OX4 1RE. Tel: 01865 812150.

 

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