Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"12 Days of Wicked Christmas" - December 2010

The Citizens Community Company can always be relied on to produce a dark and cynical alternative to the saccharine sweet shows that abound each Christmas. We might not quite be talking Frankie Boyle territory, but this is not a family-friendly show.

Comprising sixteen short segments written and performed by the company, some are more successful than others and I think perhaps there was more of a variation in the quality of writing than in previous installments. But while that may be true of the script, I felt the performances clearly showed further development from the already high levels we have come to expect. Particularly noticeable was the inclusion in several scenes of significant audience participation - all handled very skilfully.

And don't ever let anyone tell you that the Community Company are anything less than professional. During the performance we attended they had to contend with a number of audience members who had to leave the Circle Studio mid-scene - walking through the performance space. There also appeared to be a medical incident taking place just outside the studio that resulted in several more comings-and-goings as audience members offered assistance. Yet the cast were completely unphased by it all and remained entirely focussed.

We enjoyed the whole evening, but of course, we had our favourites. Judith Hastie's "The Turkey's Lament" provided a highly entertaining look at Christmas from the Turkey's viewpoint and Neil Bratchpiece gave us a very un-Disneylike "Beauty and the Wee Man". But the comic highlight was Kat Lamont's "Barbie Dolls" which gave us mental images of a new line of dolls that will stay with us way beyond Christmas.

One of the strengths of these annual "Wicked Christmas" shows is that not everything is about getting laughs. Although the audience seemed unsure quite how to respond to it, Robert Tamson's "Ghost" was actually an emotionally powerful monologue, and Marjorie AM Ferry's "Father and Son" was an insightful look at the generation gap.

But "12 Days of Wicked Christmas" just isn't enough - we're hoping next year they give us a "Wicked Christmas Advent Calendar" with the full 24!

12 Days of Wicked Christmas has now completed its run at the Citizens.
Image by Tim Morozzo used with permission