REVIEW (From a distance): Puss in Moon Boots (Sleeping Trees in association with Splendid Productions)

After the success of last year’s online panto, The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington, Sleeping Trees are back with another festive online mash-up. Running at just under an hour, and available to stream on demand, Puss in Moon Boots is a great way of getting into the panto spirit whenever the mood takes you (with tickets giving unlimited access for a month). We squeezed it in on a school night and still had time to decorate the Christmas tree afterwards. Like last year, however, parents should be warned that Sleeping Trees’ special brand of online audience participation involves encouraging the kids to create quite a lot of chaos. Once again, we found our living room full of kitchen utensils and toilet roll tubes. Why? Well, how else are you supposed to pilot a space ship from the sofa? Read on to find out all about this madcap caper featuring a fearless feline, a moon-jumping bovine and a copyright free Darth Vader…..

Like last year, Josh, John and James have gathered together in a living room (which may or may not belong to any of them) to stage the annual Sleeping Trees Living Room Adventure. There’s just time to sample James’ famous(ly burnt) mince pies before the trio get down to the important business of devising their festive story. Seeking inspiration from the Christmas gifts they receive, they settle on Puss in Moon Boots, an epic adventure in which the Christmas equilibrium hangs in the balance after Dorth Claws steals Santa’s sack and dispenses with the naughty list. With the children of the world enticed to Dorth’s moon base by promises of presents, it’s up to Santa and Puss to blast into space and save Christmas.

If you saw last year’s production you will know exactly what to expect from Puss in Moon Boots. It’s comfortingly familiar (to the extent that Crotchet initially queried whether she had seen it before) and just as daft as its predecessor. A panto in the very loosest sense, it somehow manages to incorporate some of the traditional elements of pantomime despite being online and recorded. There are opportunities for the audience to join in the adventure from their own living rooms if they want to but older viewers will find it just as enjoyable to sit and watch. (It also involves less cleaning up afterwards. To be fair, they have toned it down a bit since last year, where we had to find rather a lot more props, but the munchkins did manage to collect almost the entire contents of the kitchen this time!) Unlike many pantomimes, this is completely clean family fun, which offers something for both the children and the adults without any need to rely on innuendo. There is, however, a relatively high risk of having squabbling siblings midway through the show, for which you will have Dorth Claws to thank!

If you’re looking for something fun, festive and unashamedly silly to watch this Christmas, we recommend rocketing into space with Sleeping Trees. We had a blast joining this year’s living room adventure and can’t wait to see what the trio come up with in 2022.

Puss in Moon Boots is available to stream from 1 December 2021 to 10 January 2022. We received complimentary press access in return for a review.