This might at first seem a shockingly blasphemous take on the Christmas story with drag star Polly Amorous and her cheeky crew vaguely following the Nativity story. But actually, it is one of the most Christian Christmas tales I have seen for a long while.
Let me explain.
Basically, the show is a showcase or a variety of circus/cabaret skills from a gloriously kinky Eric McGill who can put things in and take them out of his nasal cavities while cavorting in all manner of risqué outfits to the fun Foo Foo Labelle in sort of naughty strip type of routines.
Add to this the always strange belly dancing of Rahim El Habachi (better at this than delivering dialogue as a Roman soldier), whooping Bunmi Odumpsu who, like McGill, is a doyen of aerial work, fire eater Helena Gonzalez and the multi talented Jenna Dyckhoff
Directed by Duncan Hallis, the show is narrated by Polly and as is the way, she is the self-declared star, and she carries it off well including some surprises at the finale. However, the real star was Eric McGill whose squirm-making gives the show a unique selling point. He has that slightly shiver-making ability to make disturbing kink attractive and appealling. The graduate of Montreal’s National Circus School has taken his swining trapeze skills and applied kink to create an unique tantalsing repertoire of scenes.
Rahim El Habachi
Along the way as Polly reads from her sort of holy book we have rib-taking of Newport, the Arts Council of Wales’ Welsh language policy, the monarchy, and a weird King Kong section which I really didn’t understand, plenty of banter and some audience participation. Well done coping with an able of drunks who fortunately left at some stage and were not missed.
It would be too much of a spoiler to tell the actual plot but it vaguely follows Mary and the angels, carpenter Joseph, the baby Jesus, sheep and shepherds, the flight to Egypt, the Saviour of the World – but with a fair few twists.
This was an alternative show so we had to have anti-Tory jibes and the old Jesus was a Refugee trope but that was all as expected.
The Christian Christmas element? Well, the end of the story is a recording of lots of Christmas wishes for the world which would (largely) fit the religious/moral message of the festival. SImilarly, the plot twist at the end (which I won’t give away) is about as contemporary Christian a message for mankind as you could wish without actually having God incarnated into human flesh.
There is table drink service in the venue, Wales Millennium Centre’s Weston Studio, which has been set up as a cabaret setting, and a great time was had by all.
Until 31st December
Interview with Duncan Hallis:
Images Kirsten McTernan