Tag Archives: Rah Petherbridge

A Pissemas Carol

A Pissedmas Carol

★★★★★

Leicester Square Theatre

A Pissemas Carol

A Pissedmas Carol

Leicester Square Theatre

Reviewed – 10th December 2021

★★★★★

 

“one of the funniest experiences you can have a theatre”

 

It’s written into law that, like Hamlet or The Importance of Being Earnest throughout the year, there must be at least 12 productions of A Christmas Carol running when the festive seasons rolls around. Without a doubt, A Pissedmas Carol tops the list.

Produced by Sh!tfaced Showtime (who also do Sh!tfaced Shakespeare), the show is a perfectly ordinary telling of the Charles Dickens classic save for one simple-but-genius twist: one of the cast of five gets stupendously drunk before the show and continues drinking throughout. It’s something that could easily go horribly wrong, but this team pulls it off with total brilliance.

In this performance, James Murfitt was the unfortunate actor who had to knock back some beers and most of a bottle of Tanqueray gin before the show even began, which was followed by more beers and even some Gaviscon during the play. In many ways, Murfitt seemed like the best choice from the audience’s perspective since they were playing Scrooge.

It’s only natural that the inebriated actor will want to go off-script, and the rest of the cast (Katy Baker, John Mitton, Issy Wroe Wright, Hal Hillman, Will Seaward, Daniel Quirke, Charlotte Brooke and Nick House in rotation across performances) do a stellar job of going along with it without derailing the plot too much. However, when that actor is playing the lead character who has a lot of control over the plot, it leads to a lot of derailing that ends up being exceptionally hilarious. In this version, Scrooge becomes a queer icon, drops the c-word like it’s going out of style, and completely rewrites the ending by murdering Bob Cratchitt. Seeing the gleam in the actors’ eyes as they magnificently mutilate the source material is superb, and they keep the audience in the palm of their hands throughout, in the most sidesplitting ways.

The audience get to be involved in the action too, with members bestowed with horns and crackers by the bellowing narrator that can keep the drinks flowing when used, and charades suggestions being played out on stage.

Thanks to Katy Baker’s slick direction and actors’ exquisite interplay and improv skills, A Pissedmas Carol is one of the funniest experiences you can have a theatre, and one of the best presents you can give yourself this Christmas.

 

Reviewed by Ethan Doyle

Photography by Rah Petherbridge

 


A Pissedmas Carol

Leicester Square Theatre until 15th January

 

Previously reviewed at this venue this year:
Sh!t-Faced Macbeth | ★★★★★ | July 2021

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

Tarot

Tarot

★★★★

VAULT Festival 2020

Tarot

Tarot

Forge – The Vaults

Reviewed – 29th January 2020

★★★★

 

“discipline, creativity and spontaneity collide, tension rises and falls, pace quickens and slows”

 

Amidst the multitude and diversity of acts at VAULT Festival, ‘Tarot’ offers a unique experience which brings together the creative talent and flair of The Feathers of Daedalus Circus, soul-funk group, Yoshi and the charmingly wry yet piquant host, Ruby Wednesday. As we enter the Forge, the underground jazz club cabaret scene is set as the band sit on stage in the semi-dark, conjuring up a mystical soundscape. Through a brief introduction and explanation of tarot, Ruby Wednesday’s seductive sharpness leads the audience into the deck of images and enigmas. The show begins. Cards in turn are defined by the host and illustrated by dramatic acrobatics and aerial expertise; the Fool dances on his hands, the Hanged Man twists and turns on the rope, hand to hand balancing depicts Strength and the Devil contorts around suspended chains. The troupe (Imogen Huzel, Josh Frazer, Tessa Blackman and Lauren Jamieson) alternate their set pieces with improvised numbers during Ruby Wednesday’s live tarot readings with members of the audience. And as if this were not enough, the eclectic band of musicians produce a lavish range of styles to accompany the pictures. Equally at home playing sleazy jazz as atmospheric ethnic timbres or electronic sound design, lead singer, Ben Smith also gives us some inspired vocal improvisation and rap.

The team works together with a refreshing lack of protagonism and there is always something on stage to watch – if not the aerial hoop or Cyr wheel, then the bassist and drummer playing a gamelan duet or Ruby Wednesday’s fiery finale. It is true that ‘Tarot’ ties together a rather random collection of skills and ideas; discipline, creativity and spontaneity collide, tension rises and falls, pace quickens and slows. But it succeeds through the abundance of craftsmanship and the unusual proximity to this kind of performance, which immerses us in the technical and inventive worlds.

Irresistibly watchable, ‘Tarot’ is original, free-spirited and entertaining.

 

Reviewed by Joanna Hetherington

Photography by Rah Petherbridge

 

VAULT Festival 2020

Click here to see all our reviews from VAULT Festival 2020