A Sussex children’s entertainer tells Charlotte Pearson of his mission to save Christmas.
What would you do if you found emails in your inbox meant for someone else? And what if that person was Santa Claus?
“The fate of Christmas falls into my hands,” reveals Tom Hunter, otherwise known as Tomfoolery. “I get the emails and go on an adventure to the North Pole to help save Christmas by generating some festive mojo.”
After the success of his Beans on Toast tour, which resulted in a number of sell out shows last year, Tom was looking to do something during the festive period.
“I have always done amateur pantos but wanted to do something else,” the Henfield resident admits.
“I was talking to the people at The Capitol in Horsham and they offered me the studio space, it just felt like a fantastic opportunity to do something myself.”
This meant coming up with a concept centred around the special time of year.
“I came up with the idea and it seemed like such a good story that I turned it into a book,” he explains. “The show and book work hand in hand and it’s something nice for people to take away after as a memento.
“I never had any ambition to write a book, so when I told my mum she was really shocked as I was never academic at school.
“But it just fits well with the concept and we found a great illustrator from Chichester, so it all just fell into the place.”
Tomfoolery Saves Christmas sees the children’s entertainer on an adventure to meet Father Christmas.
“Unlike my usual shows at the bandstand, the Beans on Toast and the parties which include more of a variety of different things,” he says, “this is more of a story which the audience can follow with me.
“Most of the other things I do are aimed at children aged four and above, but this is great for toddlers and younger children and is a fantastic way of introducing children to the magic of theatre.”
He adds that while pantomimes are good family entertainment he feels they can sometimes be a bit too scary for younger children.
“I took mine who are eight and nine to see a panto last year and the youngest was terrified of the big bangs and things,” says Tom. “But Tomfoolery Saves Christmas is a great family friendly show and a fantastic alternative to going to the pantomime.
“I have also found with pantos that with some of the humour aimed at adults it is quite near the line, but I have had so many people say to me that they are glad there is an alternative that they can take younger children to.”
Usually at the end of his shows Tomfoolery and his gang enjoy a dance to something such as the Hokey Cokey, and for the final ten to 15 minutes of the festive show the children will be invited up to meet a very special guest.
“I won’t say who it is as it is a surprise but it is a Christmas show,” laughs Tom.
A firm favourite with children in Sussex already, this show, with its mix of Tom’s circus and entertainer skills along with the magic of Christmas, is sure to gain him even more fans.
Tomfoolery Saves Christmas is on for 50 minutes to an hour and will be at The Capitol in Horsham from
December 10 until 24 (he has Mondays off) with two shows a day at 11am and 1.30pm. Tickets £10.50.
It is suitable for children aged 18 months and up.
For ticket information, visit www.thecapitolhorsham.com
More about Tomfoolery…
Being a children’s entertainer was not always the plan for Tom.
“I stumbled on to children’s parties really,” explains Tom.
“I left school and started working as a blue coat with Thomson, but I didn’t like working away from home as I am a bit of a home boy.
“I was asked to do a children’s party and to be honest I hated it. I spent ages planning what I was going to do in the hour and after ten minutes I was done and the kids were bored.
“But because I had done one, I was asked to do others. So I started to adapt and evolve my act and started to enjoy it.”
And so Tommy the Clown was born and over the years he has honed his act and transformed the clown into the stripy socked Tomfoolery we recognise today.
So where did the name Tomfoolery come from?
“When I was thinking of a new name I just put fun in an online thesaurus and I noticed it, and as my name is Tom I thought it worked quite well,” he smiles.
For more information on Tomfoolery, visit partytom.com
December 4, 2015 Culture and Events