Looking for a super-silly way to get your little ones into the holiday spirit? Consider checking out “Paddington Saves Christmas” at Seattle Children’s Theater.
Filled with Paddington’s typical silly antics, the play is about how Paddington earnestly tries to help his neighbor, Mr. Curry, prepare for a visit from his very stern and very tidy Great Aunt Matilda. What should be an easy list of chores becomes a series of hilarious disasters as Paddington creates mishap after mishap.
As Paddington continues to try to help, a dramatically exasperated and frantic Mr. Curry tries to keep his home (and himself!) in one piece. Plenty of slapstick moments ensue, with the audience constantly awaiting the next disaster.
This was my toddlers’ first time in a theater, so I tried to do as much prep as possible. We read multiple Paddington books from the library, talked over and over about what to expect at a play, read the plot synopsis together, and brought our stuffed Paddington bear with us.
Soon after the play started, my daughter wanted to sit in my lap, and a few minutes later, my son told me he didn’t like the play, so I brought him onto my lap as well. I thought we would do OK with this setup (with me whispering explanations and assurances into their ears, like how the Paddington character was a puppet with a person moving the puppet’s head and arms), but when Paddington turns on a vacuum cleaner, the noise (which is not very loud at all) sent them over the edge, and I had to quickly get my crying kids out of the theater.
Thankfully, in the pre-show announcements, I learned about a quiet room in the theater. I found the room, and we watched the rest of the show from there. The sounds were muted (the audio was piped in through a speaker) and we could talk. My kids calmed down in the quiet room, but still didn’t seem to enjoy the play very much — probably because they were still hesitant and anxious.
Seattle Children’s Theater suggests that kids be at least 3 years old to see the play, but I’m sure there were a number of 2-year-olds (and babies!) at our showing — and I didn’t notice anyone else get upset during the show. After all, we were the only ones who used the quiet room. It seemed as if we were quite the exception, with most little ones doing just fine with the puppet and louder noises (which, again, were not that loud at all).
As we headed out of the theater after the show, I overheard a parent and an older kid (maybe 9 or 10?) talking about how they were a little too old for the show. So perhaps a good age range is 3 to 6 or 7 years old, depending on your little one’s personality.
How to prepare
If you think your little one might need some prep, I suggest explaining to them that Paddington is a puppet, with people moving his body and arms, and speaking for him. I would also let them know that they may hear slightly louder noises during the show (I’m sure my kids aren’t the only ones who don’t enjoy the noise of a vacuum cleaner!). Other than that, use your best judgment as to whether or not your little one might or might not be ready for the play.
If you go to the show, enjoy the surrounding Seattle Center before or after the show — get a meal or treat at the Commissary, watch the fountain (and see if you can spot a rainbow in the mist!), or check out the statues and art around the complex.
With Christmas trees, lights, wreaths, and, of course, marmalade, “Paddington Saves Christmas” could be a great addition to your holiday celebrations.
Know before you go:
- “Paddington Saves Christmas” will be at the Seattle Children’s Theatre through Dec. 21, 2022
- Seattle Children’s Theatre is located at 201 Thomas Street
- Garage and street parking are available at a cost.
- Purchase tickets online. Prices vary from $15-$50.
- Runtime of the show is 55 minutes, and there is no intermission
- Masks are required for guests 2 and older
- ASL-interpreted performance is scheduled for Saturday, Dec.10
- An audio-described show will be on Saturday, Dec. 17
- A sensory-friendly show will be on Sunday, Dec. 11
- The theater is wheelchair accessible. See the venue’s accessibility page for more information.