Magic Mike or Santa? Honestly, there are times you can’t tell the difference in this sexually promiscuous, irreverent Christmas revue that provides no shortage of fun. It upends everything you thought you knew about the festive season and keeps the laughs coming. A traditional Christmas carol behind curtains gives way to smut and innuendo, which the enthusiastic patrons lap up. There is song and dance, strip tease, a retelling of the first Christmas with audience participation and Saint Nick’s politically watered-down address. The cast even manages to find room for a tap routine. Bloody marvellous … all, I say.
It is a polished and joyful show, but of course if you are easily offended, don’t go because they swear like troopers and are not backward in coming forward. I speak of eight performers and a three-piece band that sits atop a two-tiered stage, with a fireman’s pole down to ground level. The latter consists of musical director Martine Wengrow on keyboard, Sam Ainslie on guitar and bass, and Facu Alvarez on drums. All the artistes excel, but I would particularly like to highlight three.
Having seen Tim Paige fill the big man’s shoes, I will never look at Santa the same way again. Apart from his potty mouth, let’s just say he doesn’t mind baring more than a little skin (is that a fur coat covering his chest?). He’d be a lock at any Christmas party worth its salt. Shay Debney is his most endearing offsider. He is an eager-to-please elf to whom the audience immediately warms. His affectations are priceless. Jordan Twigg’s vocals are simply sensational. She is a commanding presence with the most mellifluous voice. Others to hit the stage are Rebecca Rolle, Joe Kalou, Kate Yaxley, Madeline Pratt and Joshua Spiniello.
Overall, many of the tuneful songs with sexually forward lyrics are absolute rippers. The show is the brainchild of creators Alex Woodward and Dan Venz. Venz also wrote, choreographed and directs the offering, alongside co-writer and director Alister Smith. The skit writers are Emily Kristopher, Stephen Hirst and Matt Semple. Collectively, they certainly know how to tap into crowd sensibilities. They turn the tables on woke … and how! The pacing of A Very Naughty Christmas is spot on. There is never a dull moment and one routine simply rolls into the next.
I must say that Santa’s attempt at going PC really hit the mark for me. The jolly fat man can no longer say “Ho, Ho, Ho.” “Christmas” isn’t inclusive enough. Neither is the proposed reference to just “boys and girls” … and so on. It goes down a treat. Bawdy costuming by Isaac Lummis includes lace underwear, shimmery suits and no shortage of flesh revealing numbers in green, red, gold and white. Sex toys and large playing cards to cover the privates prove to be useful props.
Eight minutes of hilarity and vice, A Very Naughty Christmas is a box of licorice all sorts that leaves it all on the stage. The title speaks volumes – it is very naughty … but nice. Loved it! Suitable for adults only, it is playing at Alex Theatre until 23rd December, 2023.