For years, unless you simply adore musical theater on London's West End - and there is nothing wrong with that if you do, Hannah Waddingham has been just around the edges of being a huge star on a show. She was excellent, but slightly underused on Game of Thrones, for example. Thankfully, Ted Lasso came along and the world got to see a lot more of Waddingham's immense talent.
But while Ted Lasso did not have Waddingham's character focus at all on singing, viewers heard enough to know that Waddingham had a dreamy voice, and many wanted to listen more. This year, AppleTV+ did us all a favor and gave Waddingham her own Christmas special and Waddingham got to bring along a lot of friends, including many from the cast of Ted Lasso.
But Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas does not simply succeed because we see a lot of familiar faces from a show that many have on their top-ten favorite shows ever. The special is a throwback to the types people saw in the 1950s and 1960s. There is a lot of music, several scenes without music that are filled with humor (one with Waddingham and Brett Goldstein - Goldstein played Roy Kent on Ted Lasso - is sheer perfection), and well-staged choreography. A huge reason Home for Christmas is a success is that the show doesn't try to overdo anything; It simply exists for fun.
Hannah Waddingham blooms in her new Christmas special
Besides the Ted Lasso co-stars (and yes, Jason Sudeikis makes a brief appearance), Waddingham invites musical theater brilliance in the form of Leslie Odom, Jr., and Luke Evans along as well. Odom and Waddingham duet on "Please Come Home for Christmas" and do so with excellent harmonies. Evans joins Waddingham on "Winter Wonderful" and the 20-year friendship between the two shines through.
The only real snag in the show is I am not quite sure what the point of Nick Mohammed's part is. Mohammed played Nathan Shelley on Ted Lasso, of course. But on Home for Christmas, he gets strung to the rafters fairly early on and just kind of stays there. I felt a bit sorry for him.
Still, Home for Christmas is Waddingham's show and her voice, multiple wardrobe changes, and failure to fall into the same rut most live Christmas shows do make this a winner and likely an annual watch. In fact, there is no reason not to watch Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas several times a season.