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: