Philobiblon: Christmas shock tactics at the theatre

Monday, December 05, 2005

Christmas shock tactics at the theatre

The story of the awful family Christmas has become a cultural staple - to be heard in every office, school and cafe in the land - so to really make an impact you either have to tell it really well, or make the tales really extreme.

With The Super Slash Naughty XXXmas Story at Wilton's Music Hall, Russell Barr has gone for the second option. I'm not going to tell the worst of them, for you might be eating, and they are certainly enough to turn any stomach. Audience reaction was distinctive - the nervous guffaw, followed by the sharply indrawn breath that says: "Really, they're not ... Oh my God, they are."

Which is a bit of a pity, since behind the stunts is a rather fine, well-drawn comedy. The gay nephew Doddie (played by Barr), has been forced to come home for Christmas with his utterly un-PC, weird and self-centred Aunt Shona. (She's wonderfully played by Joanna Scanlan, and it is worth the price of the ticket just to see her performance.) Also in the party is the Delia Smith-quoting child Alistair, beautifully hammed up, in the best possible sense, by Lisa Hammond. READ MORE


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