Review: Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

Ricky Martin, Forest Whitaker and Norwich city centre are among the stars of this fun but frenetic festive musical.

We begin with narrator Phylicia Rashad (Clair Huxtable from The Cosby Show) offering to tell a “new Christmas story” to her grandchildren.

Then we’re off to a fantasy version of Victorian England to meet the good people of Cobbleton, a diverse city (played by Norwich’s Elm Hill) with a surprisingly large contingent of American expats.

It’s Christmas time which means business is booming in the magical emporium of toymaker Jeronicus Jangle (Justin Cornwell). But his fortunes change when he invents a sentient matador doll (Ricky Martin) which talks his jealous apprentice Gustafson (Miles Barrow) into stealing Jangle’s book of inventions and setting up a rival toy factory.

When we jump forward 30 years, Jangle (now Forest Whitaker) is a depressed pawnbroker in desperate need of help from his plucky maths-whizz grand-daughter (Madalen Mills).

Will they come up with a hit toy in time for Christmas? Will Gustafson (now Keegan-Michael Key) strike again? Will Whitaker bust any moves?

On the way to the happy ending, we get memorable tunes (the John Legend-penned Make It Work is a belter), action scenes and a steampunk robot that’s literally powered by belief.

At times it feels like this overstuffed stocking is in danger of coming apart at the seams but children of all ages should enjoy unpacking its many delights.

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