Here at Londonist towers, we do sometimes have our sceptical moments about the whole Christmas thing. When the hateful last-minute present-grab on oxford street is over this afternoon, we face the prospect of leaving London (we *know*, just imagine...) in order to inch closer to death watching crap telly with relatives you would never actually choose to spend any time around. Bah humbug, etc.
So we were pleased to fall across this gem however, which threatens to make us laugh at just the right time. Stephen And The Sexy Partridge is a new production for the festive season, up at the Red Lion Theatre in Angel. Described as a 'musical comedy' (hang on - isn't that just panto?), this is directed by Cal McCrystal (of 'Mighty Boosh' fame) with the whole thing written by Lily Bevan & Finnian O'Neill. It has already garnered an impressive 5 stars by Whatsonstage and appears to be this year's silly, clever, funky thing to go see.
We caught up with Finnian O'Neill, who also stars in SATSP, to find out what it's all about:
Q. Hi Finn - Why should we go to see this?
Hullo! It's a surreal, fun show that will get you in the mood for some festive cheer. Thankfully, we're also perfectly placed over a pub so you needn't be distracted from the true joy of Christmas for long.
Q. Who should go? (Can we take our mum? Do any actors get naked with horses or anything?)
We have had some kids in the audience - and thankfully they didn't cry. There have been a few shocked grannies though. We'd say this show is for anyone who likes their Christmas comedy to be more weird and funny than Cinderella and that isn't covered in tinsel.
Q. So, musical comedy - is that just a posh way of saying Panto? Did you try to land Christopher Biggins? Is there a cow?
Well, panto has a much more established formula and we definitely don't fall into that. We do have a cow but she's lesbian and in a relationship with her milking maid. As for Christopher Biggins - we did ask him but sadly he's allergic to feathers.
Q. Your character's been described as a loveable idiot with a constant beaming smile - please tell us it's not a Hugh Grant thing?
No, I couldn't get the accent right.
(Ed. Thank god!)
Q. What was your inspiration for this? It starts off in Oxford Street with Christmas shopping - had you had been snorting sherry again?
We were inspired by The Twelve Days of Christmas carol which, I think you'll agree, is pretty odd. The gold rings I might understand but if I were to wake up on Christmas day and find some chickens, a gaggle of milkmaids and a piping band crammed under the tree I'd be a bit confused. We wanted to write a story that could make sense of it somehow, in as funny and unusual a way as possible.
Q. Here at Londonist we are fond of strong female roles when we go to the theatre. Will we get some?
Well, apart from myself, the cast are all female, all feisty and very funny. The star of the show is of course a sexy partridge (what a beak, etc) but the rest are all very game birds.
Q. What's next in the pipeline? Will we have to wait til Christmas 2009?
Our show was produced by Osip Theatre, Lily Bevan's exciting new production company. Osip's next project is The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard at The Tabard Theatre in Chiswick from January 27th-Feb 14th 2009. A gorgeous cerebral romantic comedy with a starry professional cast. Perfect for a Valentine date. (ahem)
Q. Finally - Have you ever been sick on the tube?
The closest I got was when someone mistook the corner of my carriage for a urinal at 7.30pm on the Northern Line. He must have been having a better Tuesday than me.
Stephen And The Sexy Partridge is on at The Old Red Lion Theatre until 3rd Jan. Go here to book or call 0844477 1000.