The Old Red Lion. After they'd cleaned up after us. By tartalom.
Played out in a cosy space, Papa Tango's new seasonal show is a pantotastic fun farce, taking the commercialisation of Christmas to the nth degree and recasting the nativity story in the here and now. In Angel, in fact. You get the feeling Syco's entertainment empire is not very far away as everything is rebranded, putting the X into Xmas. Russell Brand is Jesus, Santa has Claws, everything is sponsored and you'd better have a licence for your festive celebrations.
Two power crazed creatives and an MP imagineer the corporate cash in and takeover of Chrimbo with plans for Easter in the pipeline. But, of course, there is resistance. "Santas for Justice" chain themselves to the Deal or No Deal studio in Bristol and three faith fundamentalists plot the salvation of their religious differences with murderous zeal. Meanwhile, there's a baby on the way.
From the first corporate pitch there's energy and flair in the show. These are characters and subject matter we know well, always ripe for satire. Kudos to James Quinn for his impressive study of Russell Brand, nailing the hip thrusts and swagger and handling that ridiculous voice and wig with aplomb. Applause for the climactic fight scene complete with strobe slow effects and thumbs up for some beautiful Bristolian accents. We giggled a lot. Sometimes we weren't sure we should be laughing. Mostly, though, most of us just enjoyed its slightly ragged round the edges exuberance. Note to cast though - please smile when we clap you!
Christmas Reloaded is on until 31st December (no shows Sundays or 24-28 December). 9.30pm at the Old Red Lion Theatre Pub, Angel. £10 including a mug of mulled cider. Call for group rates.