Review: The Swiss Family Robinson at the Corby Core Theatre

Going along to the Core’s festive show has become an unmissable Christmas tradition in this house.

The Scruff the dog and Nibbles the monkey are part of the family Robinson.
The Scruff the dog and Nibbles the monkey are part of the family Robinson.

Each year, the theatre puts on an alternative to the traditional panto with a seasonal production that provides a Christmasy take on a well-loved tale.

And I think this year’s might be the best yet.

The Swiss Family Robinson is a 200-year old tale of a shipwrecked family who find themselves washed-up on a far-away island.

The Robinson family find themselves washed-up on a faraway island

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    Despite their predicament, the story is full of hope and of fun.

    The play takes the audience along on the Robinsons’ journey which is beautifully brought to life by an island-inspired stage set, including a series of ingenious inventions by their teenage boy Fritz.

    The play stays loyal to its 19th century roots and maintains a real sense of adventure. Some clever cultural references - dad Jon Robinson accidentally breaks out into a rap at one point - bring the tale into the 21st century theatre.

    Teenage girl Jaq, whose ambition is to open her own female-only steelworks, neatly challenges gender conventions by providing a shelter and food for the family and by saving their skins more than once.

    An amazing set brings the story to life

    Cute puppetry includes a cast of penguins, a monkey, a pair of ostriches and the family’s pet dog.

    Young twins Ernest and Eric, complete with some Morecambe and Wise gags, are inspired by ventriloquist’s dummies.

    A band of mean pirates provide some hilarious moments and a chance for some good old audience participation.

    There’s even a traditional panto-style sing-a-long.

    There are free crafting activities before every family performance

    The cast of just four - from the New Old Friends theatre company - does a really wonderful job. Director James Farrell has created a genuinely touching production that was loved by our whole family. Even our two-year-old sat still for the whole, captivating, show.

    In a time where our news is dominated by political fighting and our social media is dominated by adversarial exchanges, the Swiss Family Robinson is a wonderful antidote. It is a timely reminder of finding joy in simple things and of the importance, above all, of family.

    The show runs at the Core Theatre in the Corby Cube until Sunday, December 29. Ticket prices start at £14.50 with special school performances priced at £10. It is recommended for ages 6+ although our younger children were captivated. Running time is one hour and 30 minutes.

    Tickets can be booked by calling the box office on 01536 470470 or by visiting

    The amazing set brings the story to life

    Free craft activities run before every family performance where little ones and their families can make a sock-puppet penguin, a boat to set sail in and write a desert island style letter to Father Christmas.

    The show is sponsored by local solicitor Wilson Browne.


    Scruff the dog and Nibbles the monkey are a real part of the Robinson family
    Fritzs amazing inventions are key to the Robinsons survival
    Family is at the heart of the tale
    There are free craft activities at every family performance