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The McDougalls, Chaos At Christmas - Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine, December 2016

Published by: Jon Cuthbertson on 22nd Dec 2016 | View all blogs by Jon Cuthbertson


The McDougalls present a fun and festive family show filled with laughter and song.

The McDougalls

The McDougalls are already a little bit of a cult hit with the kids of Inverclyde and Ayrshire – and the kids of Glasgow are catching on too after their recent trip to the Theatre Royal. Aimed at the pre-school market, the shows are mainly set around songs that the young people can join in with, performed by larger than life characters who move it along in story form.

In this latest production, Chaos At Christmas, there are many classics that even I remember from my childhood (although with some new verses on to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I had to rely on the 3 year old beside me to help me with the actions and words!) and some new songs that I believe are written specially for the McDougalls.

The McDougalls themselves are Max (played by one of the show’s creators, Ryan Moir), Maisie (Colleen Garrett) and Auntie Aggie (the show’s other creator, Ruairidh Forde). They are joined throughout by various other characters such as their, rather large, pet rabbit Morag (played by Euan Barker in one his many skin character guises) and wee cousin Shug (a second role for the versatile Ruairidh Forde). Each character is lively,colourful and full of energy.


The simple story follows the family on Christmas Eve as they prepare for Christmas Day itself, however nothing quite goes to plan. Shug has been rehearsing the wrong song for the school nativity and has the wrong costume (his monkey onesie may look cute, but just won’t do when it’s a donkey in the nativity), Aunt Aggie has ruined the turkey and Morag has eaten the carrot that was to be left for the reindeer!

Each of the performers have their moment to shine - Max has been praticing his piano and so we get to see Ryan Moir's musical talents here. Maisie sings a gentle version of Little Donkey to Cousin Shug (and manages to keep a room full of rowdy toddlers enthralled in silence as she sings - a very brave decision to take in a show like this and one that worked extremely well) giving us the chance to hear Colleen Garrett's vocals. Ruairidh Forde's moment to shine was during one of the most interactive parts of the show - 8 kids were chosen to come up to help play Santa's reindeer for a song. As Aunt Aggie, Mr Forde spoke to each of the children and had a little joke or quip ready for any of the answers they threw at him (and trust me, kids of that age can say pretty much anything!). With appearances from a snowman and from Santa (who arrives through the fireplace, having been stuck up the chimney - cue for a song? Of course!) and even some magical snow for the show's finale, there is festive fare aplenty. 

The McDougalls wrap up the show by telling the audience "We're the McDougalls and we've had fun!". Well, they weren't alone - the audience seemed to have had a ball.

Having grown up watching Cilla and Artie in the Singing Kettle, this seems like exactly the kind of show I'd want to see as a child now - a sophisticated Singing Kettle for 2016. With the colourful sets, the energetic characters and the wonderful music this is 5 star family fun!



Harbour Arts Centre Irvine


Friday 16th December 6.30pm

Sunday 18th December 1pm (SOLD OUT)

Sunday 18th December 3pm

Sunday 18th December 6.30pm

Wednesday 21st December 6.30pm

Thursday 22nd December 6.30pm

Friday 23rd December 6.30pm

(booking fee applies)

for more dates see




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