REVIEW: A Kick in the Baubles at Riverhead Theatre


Louth Playgoers launch the festive season with A Kick in the Baubles – a humorous, fast-moving and high-energy comedy about one dysfunctional family’s preparations for Christmas.

Alan Watkinson is Frank, the ultimate grumpy old man, whose “Bah humbug” attitude to his wife Jean’s build up to Christmas would put even Scrooge to shame.

Dorothy Barron and Neil Warne play Jean’s sister and brother-in-law, Doreen and Harry, whose flashy display of wealth make them the visitors everyone loves to hate.

Dorothy’s portrayal of Doreen, with her narrow-minded views made even more extreme as each glass of wine takes effect, is both extremely funny and ultimately tragic.

Jade Poulter plays their daughter Alex with a good sense of comic timing, making a successful move from musicals to her first play.

And of course we have the Christmas visit from those new neighbours! Jamie Smith makes a triumphant return to the stage as Gary, a karaoke fan who loves to “partay”!

Ashley Stevens, as Gary’s wife Julie, gives a positively raunchy debut performance as she makes a confident step from the props team to centre stage. And is Jean, played so well by Christine Vickers, really just the long-suffering wife and sister determined to uphold tradition despite all setbacks?

The answer finally unfolds as we watch the relationship play out between Jean and her daughter Milly.

Milly is Ceejay Liles’ first role with Playgoers – a very successful debut shared with another first-timer, Stephen Leeman, who plays her gentle and endearing partner Darren.

First time director Sue Munro and her assistant Ryan Clark have good reason to be proud of this production which sees the audience laugh out loud as they recognise moments from Christmas past and delight in Gordon Steel’s fast-paced writing! Congratulations to the backstage team for an impressive set which includes a fully-operational kitchen.

Finally, the music in A Kick in the Baubles deserves a special mention as all of our seasonal favourites make an appearance – Elton John, Slade, Queen and Michael Buble among others – and Jamie Smith’s hilarious rendition of I Want to Break Free has got to be heard to be believed!

If you want to start your jolly holiday with a Kick in the Baubles, it is showing at: Louth Playgoers Riverhead Theatre from Monday November 4 to Saturday November 9, at 7.30pm.

Box office: 01507 600350 (open daily from 10am to 1pm, except Sundays). Online booking soon available on

A Kick in the Baubles is a cracker of a comedy but it does contain language some may find inappropriate.

Review by Jill Hetherington.