Review: Puss in Moon Boots (online)

Another Christmas season, another annual Living Room Adventure from Sleeping Trees. Following the success of last year’s The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington, this year’s online offering from the comedy trio, Puss in Moon Boots, mashes up references from various well-known tales including Hansel and Gretel, Star Wars and Jack and Jill – and all without ever leaving the house.

Santa’s cat Puss is tired of being left behind every Christmas Eve while Santa and his reindeer head out with the sleigh to deliver all the presents, so he’s invented a rocket that will get the job done much faster. Or at least it would, if anyone would take him seriously. But then Santa gets ambushed by an asthmatic space villain who for copyright purposes is definitely not Darth Vader, and Puss has to step in and save Christmas, with the help of a robotic cow, David Meowie and some newly acquired moon boots.

Anyone who’s seen Sleeping Trees before will no doubt take such a bonkers plot completely in their stride. It’s all extremely silly and a lot of fun, especially for younger audience members who are actively encouraged to get involved by dressing up, shouting at the TV – well it is panto season, after all – and finally helping to steer the heroes home to safety. And while this is undeniably a show for small people, there’s plenty of humour for the grownups too. I don’t have any kids and I had a great time – and I didn’t have to clear up any mess afterwards, which is an added bonus.

As always, all the characters, male, female, spaceman, cat, cow… are played by Joshua George Smith, James Dunnell-Smith and John Woodburn, who along with co-writer and composer Ben Hales and director Kerry Frampton have once again turned an ordinary home into a film set in a whole host of creative ways. Despite the ingenuity of some of the effects, the backdrop is always recognisable as a living room, or a bathroom, or a kitchen, making this a brilliant way of showing children that if they have a great idea they don’t have to look far to make it a reality. As Puss himself might say, determination and self-belief are the most important things – and Sleeping Trees have both these things in abundance.

Last year, making a film without leaving the house was necessary because – well, nobody was allowed to leave the house. This time around, live performance is once again possible, and in fact Sleeping Trees also have a live show, Sleeping Beauty and the Beast, happening right now at Battersea Arts Centre, but I’m glad to see the online format hasn’t been abandoned. Already, just two years in, there are running jokes developing (mince pie, anyone?), and hopefully that’s a sign that the Christmas Living Room Adventure is going nowhere.

Puss in Moon Boots is available online until 10th January – tickets cost just £5 and let you watch as many times as you like (sorry parents).

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