Earlier today, my family and I were guests at the gala premiere of Junior Claus, a musical theatre production by The Little Company, a division of The Singapore Repertory Theatre.
A synopsis: when the world’s Christmas spirit drops suddenly, sending Santa into a mysterious deep sleep, Junior Claus must take the reigns and save the day. The musical was originally commissioned in 2009 by The Directors Studios and was produced as part of their Beyond Broadway series Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Little Company’s adaptation of Junior Claus was straightforward, save for a nod to “Singapore” at the end of the first act. Actors Timothy Wan (“Grumpo”) and Seong Hui Xuan (“Chipper”) were very good; they had incredible presence and verve. However, Cheryl Tan as Godfather-inspired “Pengu” grated. I suspect she donned a caricatured Italian-American accent for laughs; well, it wasn’t funny at all.
The set, by production designer Diego Pitarch, charmed. Our complimentary seats were in Row D, just feet away from the stage, and we admired the props, costumes, and stage machinery up close, a true treat.
But, Junior Claus didn’t enchant my child as much as previous productions by The Little Company have. Perhaps, because we don’t celebrate Christmas and elves and the Clauses do not figure in her personal mythology? Also, Junior Claus was nearly 100 minutes long; I saw many antsy toddlers in our section! (The musical is much more suitable for preschoolers and school aged children [5+].)
Junior Claus runs through on December 14. Weekday performances are at 10AM. Weekend performances are at 11AM and 2:30PM.