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BRIGHTON FRINGE: Aidan Goatley: 12 Films of Christmas: Sweet Old Steine – Steine Main

Reviewer: Simon Topping

By Aidan Goatley / Sweet Productions


Aidan Goatley is the most affable of hosts; he weaves a whimsical story well and delights the audience with tales of his life, intertwined with his top twelve Christmas Films, in his highly entertaining and funny comedy outing.

At the top of the piece Goatley, a child of the 1970’s, declares he hates Christmas. Not a good start to a show completely about festive films, the crowd ponder, but the comedian explains. 

Coming from a rather unorthodox family background, Christmas 1980 was an absolute nightmare; an event which has tainted the performer’s opinion of yuletide ever since. His grandma was a tough woman.  A pub landlady in London for many years; when she retired she didn’t slow down. Preparing a unique lunch for the family and gathering around for an awful film has been part of her lasting legacy; a legacy Aidan has tried hard to forget. 

With the aid of a visual presentation Aidan deftly and hilariously guides us through the films as the evening wears on.  Some classics appear on the list, as well as some that the crowd did not expect.  The criteria for what gets on the list is strict. One, does the film invoke the spirit of Christmas?  Two, does the movie make you cry? And three, could The Muppets do an excellent musical version of the film?

Fabulous stories abound, including those relating to Aidan’s wife’s family, their moving to Middlesborough and the time he had to meet a particularly difficult family friend called Jimmy.  There is also a touching segment about Goatley’s relationship with his, now teenage, daughter.

A particularly funny story about when the comedian encountered an angry optician has the audience in stitches and further tales of his exodus to Teeside see the crowd giggle away with glee. 

Goatley is jovial, engaging and above all very amusing.  He is an endearing performer and the show’s tight structure, with inventive call back, keep the room enthralled. 

As he ticks through his list of films, relating the titles to episodes in his life, we discover how this man, once adverse to the festive season, has had his heart melted by his wife and daughter, so that now he loves Christmas and the many splendors that it holds. 

While there will always be debate as to what films make and don’t make up the list, what is not in doubt is how delightfully charming and diverting the evening with Goately is; he does not fail to amuse and entertain.  He provides a thoroughly fabulous atmosphere for those gathered; a show well worth a watch. 

Reviewed on 17th June  

The Reviews Hub Score

Charmingly Delightful

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