Snape Maltings has been serving up the Christmas magic again this year with the 2022 edition of The Co-op Juniors annual Christmas Spectacular – a show packed with so much razzle dazzle that it makes Strictly Come Dancing look positively drab.

It’s a showcase which underlines, once again, just how much young talent there is in the county. After all this is the company that sent Gary Avis to the Royal Ballet and Vincent Redmon to Ballet Rambert. Judging by this year’s performance there are several youngsters who seemed destined to follow them into a professional dance career.

In terms of sheer entertainment where else can you see a spectacular and highly moving nativity scene played out before a golden angel with an equally golden voice which is followed a short while later by a stage full of high-stepping Santas.

East Anglian Daily Times: Co-op Juniors at Snape MaltingsCo-op Juniors at Snape Maltings (Image: Mike Kwasniak)

The production, directed by the resourceful Oliver Brett, is as visually imaginative as ever and huge congratulations also go out to musical director Jo King and choreographers Lucy Allen, Sophie Allen, Ellena Bacon and Harriet Bacon for their inspired contributions.

This year, unbeknown to the audience, there was a real ‘the show must go on’ spirit backstage as large numbers of the cast went down with colds and other types of winter lurgy. Where necessary understudies went on, smoothly deputizing for the original performer, while others took deep breathes through blocked noses and gamely threw themselves into the performance like the troupers they are.

From a performance point of view, those of us in the auditorium were none the wiser. Two of the highlights came from the quieter, spoken moments of the show. Two of the youngest cast members provided a pair of reflective monologues which really hit home – one extolling the joys of keeping a miniature snowman in the freezer next to a joint of beef and the other was a lovely inquiring letter to Santa Claus which was featured in the Aardmann film Arthur Christmas.

East Anglian Daily Times: Co op Juniors put on the Razzle DazzleCo op Juniors put on the Razzle Dazzle (Image: Mike Kwasniak)

The show could add a couple more of these quietly comedic moments to the mix in future years as they lend a different rythmn and texture to the show.

Other highlights include a superb tap performance from Anything Goes, a gorgeously sung ‘Oh Little Town of Bethlehem’ and jazzy Rudolph the Reindeer – which also wins the award for best costumes.

Get in the Christmas spirit and catch this wonderful show before it closes on December 11.