Santa brings festive cheer to the hottest day of the year for New Theatre Royal's Christmas show launch

WHEN'S the perfect time of year to launch a Christmas show set in a wintery wonderland? The hottest day of the year so far, obviously.

Wednesday, 20th July 2016, 6:15 am
Santa Claus and Mark Read as Joe the Elf. Picture: Sarah Standing (161037-7136)

People enjoying a relaxing drink outside one of Guildhall Walk’s many cafes and bars were left bemused when the stars of this year’s Christmas show at the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth trooped out into the street in full costume to have their pictures taken on a swelteringly hot afternoon.

And even though the mercury was nudging 30C, the cast of Santa Claus – The Musical were total professionals in their elaborate, and rather warm-loooking, outfits.

Pop star Mark Read of A1 heads the cast as Joe The Elf.

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He is joined by former Eurovision star Nicki French, who plays the Ice Queen and Jason Sutton as Miss Drift.

Mark, who scored a brace of number ones with the band and numerous top 10 hits, said: ‘This has been very surreal – standing outside the theatre with Santa Claus and, ironically, the Ice Queen, on the hottest day of the year.

‘It feels like Miami, but I think I’ve got it easy compared to the others – I’ve just got a shirt and waistcoat, but Santa there is wearing lots of padding in that costume. I don’t envy him that at all.’

Nicki added: ‘There was a moment when I could start to feel the sweat running down my neck when we were doing things on the stage. It is very hot in this costume, but when we went outside there was actually a lovely breeze there for a moment.

‘It’s one of the things about doing shows like this – it is the hardest time of year to get people to buy tickets for a show at the end of the year – particularly when the weather is like this.

‘People aren’t thinking about Christmas or Santa Claus yet, but I think this is going to be a lovely show and it will send people away with fantastic Christmassy feel.’

The hit West End show runs at the New Theatre Royal from December 9 to 31.

Featuring spectacular scenery, colourful costumes and a host of festive characters it also includes classic Christmas hits such as Here comes Santa Claus, Jingle Bell Rock, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Book tickets by August 31 for an early-bird rate.

Book online at or call the box office on (023) 9264 9000.