Big This Week

Recent Posts

Sunday, 13 November 2022

REVIEW: Thursford Christmas Spectacular 2022

The Thursford Christmas Spectacular really is a one-of-a-kind show. The nearest comparison is to the Andre Rieu concerts, except Thursford makes Rieu look dull by comparison. And if you’ve ever seen a Rieu concert you’ll know that takes some doing! Some may find the somewhat enforced jollity of a Rieu concert cloying, but at Thursford the whole show is wrapped up in such a sparkling experience right from the moment you enter the site – music playing through the fairy-lit trees and Dickensian-dressed characters offering a warm welcome – that you’d be hard pushed to maintain any Scrooge-like sensibilities by the time the show itself begins.

It’s their 45th anniversary season so all the stops have been pulled out – and not just on the Thursford Wurlitzer organ, the capabilities of which are memorably showcased by Phil Kelsall. The on-stage company is the biggest you’re ever likely to see, and by some margin. Nearly everyone involved gets a photo and biography in the programme, which is nice to see. From this, we learn that these are highly professional and experienced performers across the board, with CVs including opera and the West End.

Thursday, 18 November 2021

REVIEW: Thursford Christmas Spectacular

“If you really love Christmas, come on and let it snow!” So sings Billy Mack in seasonal favourite Love Actually. But having seen the Thursford Christmas Spectacular for the first time I can say that for anyone who really, really loves Christmas, this must be an essential pilgrimage. And don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just a three-hour (including interval) variety show with added tinsel. There’s a shopping village, food outlets and, not least, the Enchanted Journey of Light – a walk-through journey of Christmas trees, elves and much more, culminating in a huge outdoor light exhibition (chargeable in addition to your show ticket). To really get the feel of Thursford you need to treat it as a complete Christmas experience. In fact, once you’ve had this experience, you probably don’t need to do anything else for Christmas. You’ll feel completely stuffed full!

With Disneyland-like attention to detail, Thursford delivers its enchantment through every aspect of your visit – from the background music playing on the grounds to the costumed and attentive staff, everything is aimed at giving you a magical Christmas experience. If you’re more inclined to the bah, humbug view of the season, this may all be a little cloying. But take it for what it is and you should be charmed.

The main event of your visit is the show itself. At heart, it’s old-fashioned variety theatre with a chorus, dancers, speciality acts, humorous monologues and a comic, who also acts as our compere. For avid cruisers, in terms of content, it’s quite like a compendium of all the cruise shows you’ve ever seen at sea. The difference is in scale and quality. In terms of scale, the on-stage cast is about 120 people. The choir alone is about 48-strong. There’s a troupe of highly disciplined and precisely choreographed dancers. And centre-stage is a living, breathing Wurlitzer cinema organ which provides one of the stand-out moments of the evening. All the music and singing is performed live and when combined with the numerous costumes and thousands of fairy lights on the set, it’s a feast for the eyes and ears. I also liked that the amount of purely Christmas material was quite limited. Many of the big numbers, for instance, were from well-known shows like Anything Goes, Me and My Girl and Chicago.
Blog Design by pipdig