Tag Archives: Christopher Lane


Ghosted – Another F**king Christmas Carol


The Other Palace





“It is a rib-tickling celebration of queer culture. The Play That Goes Wrong meets Queer Eye, with a sprinkling of Have I Got News For You”


‘Tis the season of way too many Dickens adaptations, but as you can most likely tell by the subtitle, “Another F***ing Christmas Carol,” this is very much not a standard version of the Christmas classic.

Written by Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper and directed by Andrew Beckett, the team behind the celebrated adult pantomimes for Above The Stag Theatre, Ghosted may just be my favourite festive show of the year. Hilariously self-aware, it was set firmly in 2022, with pop culture references, political jokes and many, many references to queer culture.

It begins with three carol singers in period dress, holding traditional, Victorian style lanterns. They start singing a beautiful carol, until they are interrupted by Bobbi Cratchitt (played with incredible comic timing by Nikki Biddington), running in late, through the audience, wearing a bright Christmas jumper and reindeer antlers. This riotous beginning brings the story into the present and sets the tone for the whole piece. When the carol singers get chatting about their terrible boss stories (very relatable – we all have one!), Bobbi Cratchitt begins to tell us about Eloisa Scrooge (Natalie Boakye) and three queer ghosts (all hysterically camp, played by Christopher Lane) who give her a makeover on Christmas Eve. The rest of the story loosely follows the plot of A Christmas Carol, with a few surprise twists and turns.

The cast is made up of just four people, switching effortlessly between all the characters, and every member was as strong and hilarious as the rest. Although a standout moment for me was Liam McHugh, switching between playing a mother and son in the same scene. A fantastic ensemble with brilliant chemistry, who all had stunning singing voices. Their creative and sweary updates on classic Christmas carols were sung beautifully, with gorgeous harmonies, along with a hefty dose of F words, and even a few C bombs… it is certainly not a show to bring the children along!

The set (designer David Shields) is a purely white room, with very few props (Isla Rose) or set pieces, meaning a small amount of imagination was required. The costume design was very much the same, a couple of key items for the quick changes between the characters. But there were many jokes made of this, and it became a running gag throughout the piece. Paper chain decorations became the chains around “Jacob Rees-Marley”, and with a few subtle lighting (Oli Matthews) and sound effects (Joel Mulley), the stage became an office, a flat, a dining room, a beach, and even a nightclub smoking area.

It is a rib-tickling celebration of queer culture. The Play That Goes Wrong meets Queer Eye, with a sprinkling of Have I Got News For You – heart-warming, without being sickly sweet – it is exactly what is needed in the current climate, and I didn’t stop laughing throughout.



Reviewed on 2nd December 2022

by Suzanne Curley

Photography by Mark Senior


Previously reviewed at this venue:

Millennials | ★★★ | July 2022
Glory Ride | ★★★ | November 2022


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Shit-Faced Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet


Leicester Square Theatre

Sh*t-Faced Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet

Leicester Square Theatre

Reviewed – 14th July 2022



“They know their business, and they know their audiences, well”


If you saunter along to the Leicester Square Theatre expecting traditional Shakespeare, you are in for a rude—a very rude—surprise. This ain’t your father’s Shakespeare. Oddly enough it is the kind of Shakespeare the Bard himself might enjoy. Enjoy—if he’d gone on a mad pub crawl beforehand, and decided to stop by the theatre to see the latest production of Romeo and Juliet. If well fortified beforehand, he’d enjoy the show—and probably not notice how the cast have changed the ending. And quite a few other things. But then, good times, fuelled with lots of alcohol, are what Sh*t-faced Shakespeare are all about. They know their business, and they know their audiences, well.

Sh*t-faced Shakespeare’s brand of Shakespeare (touring since 2010) “seeks to introduce a new generation of theatregoers to the works of the Bard by reviving the raucous, interactive and vibrant nature of Elizabethan theatre with a very modern twist.” This is one of the most accurate descriptions of a show I’ve ever seen in press materials put out by a company, and they win my admiration for that. It’s great to see such a young crowd turn out for Shakespeare in a comedy club setting. Veterans of the Sh*t-faced approach will know in advance the set up. To summarize: one of the company comes on stage as MC to announce that another member of the company has been chosen to be the drunk for the evening’s performance. Drinking heavily for several hours before the show, this performer will also be expected to drink more every time a bell or gong is struck by a member of audience. While performing Shakespeare.

On this particular evening, it was Juliet’s turn to take one for the team. But there’s not just drinking and slapstick involved here. There’s audience participation that involves acting as well. Short of a County Paris for this performance of Romeo and Juliet, a good sport sporting a “Slayer” tee shirt was selected to play the part of Juliet’s father-approved fiancé. Very appropriate. Out of this formula the cast of Sh*t-faced Shakespeare proceeds to build an entertainment that pays no attention to the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. They just focus on the comedy instead. You didn’t know Romeo and Juliet was a comedy?

Seriously, kudos to the cast. David Ellis, Louise Lee, Jessica Brindle, Richard Hughes, Christopher Lane, John Mitton, Lucy Farrar and Stacey Norris are all seasoned soldiers of the Sh*t-faced scene, which includes knowing just how badly to mess up the best known speeches while maintaining eye contact with the audience most of the time. Amazingly enough, no one got hurt as the evening (and the drinking) progressed. These actors are tough, and experienced. It’s also impossible to know whether they have been drinking, which speaks well of their classical training. The programme reassuringly points out that company members are never expected to drink on consecutive nights, or more than four times a month. They consider themselves to be more temperate drinkers than the average West End actor.

In short, if you feel your friends need a bit more culture, and fewer nights at the pub, take them to a Sh*t-faced Shakespeare show. They will have a good time, and might not even notice that they are no longer at their local. And rest assured that the “real” Shakespeare’s reputation will survive, despite the “rough magic” dealt out by Sh*t-faced Shakespeare.


Reviewed by Dominica Plummer

Photography by Rah Petherbridge


Shit-Faced Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet

Leicester Square Theatre


Previous Shit-Faced shows at this venue:
Sh!t-Faced Macbeth | ★★★★★ | July 2021
A Pissedmas Carol | ★★★★★ | December 2021


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