Santa’s Wish – the magical family musical at Sophia Gardens’ Spiegeltent this Christmas

Cardiff theatre
Santa's Wish Sophia Gardens Cardiff 2023

Post Tags

Thank you to Santa’s Wish for providing us with tickets in exchange for this review

Santa’s Wish is back in the Spiegeltent this festive season, with the magical and enchanting family musical once again delighting audiences young and old.

Written by Laura Brind, an accomplished performer as well as director of Vale Academy of Performing Arts, and her husband Matthew, a composer, arranger and conductor, Santa’s Wish originally started life as a piece of ‘doorstep theatre’ during the lockdown Christmas of 2020. The couple wanted to spread some joy and cheer to the community as we all faced a Christmas of staying at home, and so devised a short festive show called A Christmas Visit, which they took to people’s front doors and performed socially distanced.

Last year, they adapted the production into Santa’s Wish, a family musical of around 80 minutes in length, which delighted audiences and critics alike as part of the first Cardiff Christmas Festival.

Santa's Wish Sophia Gardens Cardiff 2023
Santa's Wish Sophia Gardens Cardiff 2023

This year the show is back, with a few tweaks, a couple of cast changes, and relocated to Sophia Gardens (from Cardiff Castle), giving more audiences the chance to see this delightful production.

Santa’s Wish sees the famous sleigh crashing in Cardiff. We meet a cast of enthusiastic elves who tell us the story of how Snowflake – who was once an actual snowflake – finds herself on an extraordinary journey around the world, before becoming a part of Santa’s team. Her fellow elves and Santa play the various characters who she meets along the way.

The show includes so many different styles of music, with emotive ballads, upbeat pop ditties, samba-inspired colourful numbers, and even a rapping elf.

More ideas for family-friendly theatre in the run up to Christmas here

Cardiff-born Millie Davies returns to the role of Snowflake, looking delightful in her frosted white dress, with a serene demeanour and vocals which are both crisp and warming.

Santa's Wish Sophia Gardens Cardiff 2023
Santa's Wish Sophia Gardens Cardiff 2023

Welsh TV and stage star Dyfrig Morris is once again Santa, jovial and kind, looking exactly as you’d want a Santa to look, and causing much excitement among the youngest members of the audience.

New cast members Alex Roberts and Briana Paine play the roles of Crackers and Tinsel the elves with much humour and fun, while Lisa Davies – a trained aerialist and acrobat – makes her professional debut as Jingle the elf. Her aerial dancing and stunts are jaw-dropping and so beautifully executed.

There are a lot of different strands to the show, with elves playing other characters and Snowflake journeying around the world meaning younger children may fail to follow the entire narrative. But the messages of looking after the planet, the difference that little acts of kindness can make, and finding a sense of belonging, are important themes that shine through. The music, dancing, props and visuals al combine to make this a lovely show, with the setting of Sophia Gardens adding to the experience too. Before the show you can buy pizza from The Dough Thrower’s pop up stall, or a glass of mulled wine or hot chocolate (or other drinks), and there’s some festive bauble light displays too.

Santa's Wish Sophia Gardens Cardiff 2023

The Spiegeltent, where the performance takes place, is such a beautiful venue too. Translating as ‘magic mirrors’, it is a hand-hewn pavilion, dating back to the late 1800s when it was used as a travelling dance hall across Europe. This one – called The Fortuna – is one of only a handful left in the world.  Sumptuous red velvet forms the circus style dome ceiling, glitterballs dangle from the ceiling, their lights reflecting on the cut mirrors that sit behind the booths along the edges of the venue.

It’s a cosy venue, seating 548, with the stage jutting out into the audience catwalk style, and the cast often walking around the auditorium, so you’re never too far from the action.

Having seen Santa’s Wish last year, it would have been lovely to have seen what else the creative duo of Laura and Matthew Brind are capable of. Now they have perfected this production, perhaps next year they will treat us to something new.

Santa's Wish Sophia Gardens Cardiff 2023

Santa’s Wish is at the Speigeltent, Cardiff Castle until 24 December. Tickets are priced between £11.25 (off-peak) and £35. See for more information.

Also showing is Castellana, the cabaret-style show for audiences aged 16 and above, which runs until 1 January.

Leave a Reply