Charles Way’s ‘Crackers: A Festive Family Farce’ is currently showing at the Polka theater. It is a charming production set on Christmas Eve featuring a family rushing to get ready for Christmas day whilst the family pet shop is going out of business. The story dives into enthralling chaos starting with Grandma telling stories about seeing Santa Claus in the toilet, an estate agent's trousers falling down, and Napoleon the cheeky little family pet rat being let loose on stage.

Meet the Cracker family: Mum, Mike, Joe, Maia, and Grandma are a quirky bunch. As money is tight, they have to shut the shop and move house, prompting the arrival of an unwanted smooth - talking salesman. Joe hears an old family legend about a diamond necklace hidden inside a tin (by their grandfather) and starts to tear the house apart trying to find it. With many false alarms of finding this necklace up the chimney and in the recently discovered cellar, Joe prompts countless laughs in his attempt to hide this chaos from Mum.

The young audience picked up on every inside joke and with every interactive element they were jumping to help and be involved. Finding Mum’s animal sounds hilarious, and Grandma’s actions wildly scandalous. When I looked around, every head was facing forward hoping to catch a glimpse of the infamous rat Napoleon or catch Santa Claus in the toilet! It was clear that the talented bunch of actors were giving their all to welcome, entertain, and engage their young audience and, judging by the steady stream of laughter throughout, they greatly succeeded. The play wraps up with the legend solved and the pet shop saved, concluding with laughter and fun from the Cracker family which is clearly reflected onto the audience.

Christmas music, warm drinks and a fantastic set is awaiting anyone going to see ‘Crackers’ this season. Throughout the duration of the play, everyone in the audience were actively following this hilarious story line, screams of triumph, frustrations, laughter and happiness from the kids watching were constantly heard. Any parent worrying that their child might not be able to sit still for this hour and half production should rest assured that this play is bursting with engagement, such as interactive jokes and karaoke, laughter, surprises, and mischief! Overall, ‘Crackers’ is a joyous little piece of Christmas that is perfect for families with young children.

Photo credit: Steve Gregson