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Elizabeth Bowen

If you’re looking for a new take on the Christmas spirit theme, then Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen will fit the bill, leaving you humming and smiling as you exit the Presentation House Theatre. Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen is a new play, home grown in BC. I highly recommend that you go and support the talent that has gone into creating this all-ages, funny, toe-tapping, and heartwarming musical.

Caleb Di Pomponio, Elizabeth Bowen, Brian Sutton
[Caleb Di Pomponio, Elizabeth Bowen, Brian Sutton] 

Mrs. Claus is known for her baked cookies. The story opens with Mrs. Claus finding out that Santa Claus prefers a store-bought cookie to her home-baked version. Why Santa prefers another cookie over his wife’s cookies, especially since they seem to have magical powers to remind people of the spirit of Christmas, is never explained. It does however set the scene for Mrs. Claus to visit New York City and from there, both the story and the adventure unfolds.

Jam-packed with songs and likable characters, the direction and choreography make great use of the small stage. The set is minimal, but does the trick in portraying the elements of the different scenes, thanks to the help of elves of course. The main characters are all miked, but from our seats, it was still a bit hard to hear all of the words to Mrs. Claus’ songs as well as that of Ruprecht the elf, perhaps due to the location of the four-piece band.

We’d like to give a special mention to Julian Lokash, performing the role of Andrew Brooks. His solo, “Too Old To Believe”, was heart-wrenching and beautifully sung.

Elizabeth Bowen, Brian Sutton
[Elizabeth Bowen, Brian Sutton]

There were several additional show-stopping numbers, including Mrs. Claus’ sidekicks, the elves (Robin and Ruprecht, played by Caleb Di Pomponio and Brian J. Sutton, respectively) singing “What Do You Want For Christmas“. These two had great comedic timing and played off of each other well. The Abba-inspired group number, “Dancing Queen of The Sugar Plum Fairies”, led by Alan Marriott (co-author of the play and writer of its music) had the audience clapping along and cheering.

The children in attendance all seemed to enjoy the show and had an opportunity to participate. On a few occasions, children had to leave the theatre and the only way out was down onto the stage. Kudos to the actors who took this all in stride and didn’t miss a beat, including young Lokash, a true professional. At intermission, boxes of cookies are for sale in the lobby, continuing on the play’s theme.

The 8 pm start time may be a bit late for young ones in your party, however the production also offers a matinee performance. As Christmas is rapidly approaching, this might also serve as a good time to practice staying up for Christmas Eve for a chance to see the big guy. Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen, with its heart-warming numbers, will have you leaving the theatre to pick up ingredients to bake your own cookies and experience the magic of the Christmas spirit.    

Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen continues through December 21 at North Vancouver’s Presentation House Theatre. Photos by Jeff Gibbs.

About Our Contributor MJ Ankenman

MJ Ankenman

MJ moved to Vancouver in 2005 and has been keeping busy ever since, enjoying all that the West coast has to offer, sharing discoveries through her writing and photography. MJ’s interests include yoga, biking, hiking, and enjoying BC wine. Follow MJ on Twitter @urbanista.

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