There are some things you never grow out of. No matter how old you get or how your tastes develop over the years, there’s always something from years gone by that sticks with you for life.
For me, it’s a very specific love from a very specific time. When I was about ten, I was absolutely obsessed with boybands (with instruments, so not really boybands… but still kinda boybands…) Busted and McFly. When Busted split, it was the toughest time of my young life, but I’ve continued to follow them through the years – imagine my delight when the two joined forces for the hideously-named McBusted!
Anyway, enough embarrassing nostalgia. Point is, I’ve always loved these bands and their various projects, so when Tom Fletcher (McFly vocalist/guitarist – for those of you who aren’t still harbouring their pre-teen fangirl) announced that he was turning his book The Christmasaurus into an on-stage production I was here for it.
What followed was even more exciting news, as Giovanna Fletcher (Tom’s wife, and a lovely novelist), Carrie Hope Fletcher (Tom’s sister and West End star), Harry Judd (McFly drummer, and Strictly Come Dancing winner) and Matt Willis (Busted vocalist/bassist/my pretend boyfriend when I was a young superfan and now just someone I quite fancy in a much more rational, adult way) would all take part in the show along with Tom. Christmas? Dinosaurs? Theatre? Members of the McBusted family reuniting? Literally a dream.
Me and my friend, a fellow Busted/McFly lover, went along to opening night and I had some thoughts.
1. “DAMN, those Fletcher’s have got some lungs on them!” I’ve admired Tom’s vocals for years, and was first bowled over by Carrie in The Addams Family earlier this year. But both of them together? I’m surprised the Apollo’s roof is still in tact.
2. “This may be the most far-fetched musical I’ve ever seen.” So there’s a dinosaur in the North Pole who somehow ends up in London and starts flying, then there’s this hunter trying to shoot him, and the kid ends up hanging with Santa and the elves… There is A LOT going on. But just use your imagination.
3. “For someone so lovely, Giovanna pulls off grumpy very well.” In her YouTube videos she’s such a sweetheart! Her very convincing portrayal of Pamela, the arsey mother of self-proclaimed school bitch Brenda, was definitely convincing.
4. “Why is Matt dressed like Sherlock Holmes?” Matt Willis plays the antagonist, which seems fitting – but this time he’s more panto villain than rebellious bad boy. Much more child-appropriate than his rock ‘n’ roll music image, I imagine.
5. “Harry’s arms.” And bum. Need I say more?
6. “THIS IS SO FECKIN’ ADORABLE!” The songs are cool, the story is funny, the dinosaur is hella cute. But the most adorable thing about The Christmasaurus Live is seeing the kids in the audience lose their shit every time the “real” Santa appears, or hearing them boo and hiss the bad guys, or seeing them all dance along at the end as they clap and cheer the happily ever after. It’s heart-warming. It’s the spirit of Christmas all wrapped up with a cute, unconventional bow.
For us, it was a cool experience to see people we admire doing something different; for the kids, it brought Christmas to life.