DramaReviewSouth West

XXXmas Carol – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Reviewer: Beth Steer

Produced by: Wales Millennium Centre & Big Loop

Director: Duncan Hallis

In one of the most bizarre retellings of A Christmas Carol you could ever imagine, XXXmas Carol combines spiky drag, fabulous burlesque, and jaw-dropping circus acts to create a swirling cabaret-style night of pure, unadulterated pantomime chaos.

Starring Cardiff’s much-loved drag queen, Polly Amorous, as the sharp-tongued narrator, we’re taken on a journey through Christmas past, present, and future – but not in any form that you’d recognise. From belly-dancing to burlesque, swooping arial performances to sassy asides, and featuring literal whips and chains, it’s safe to say Dickens has never been reimagined in quite this way before.

It is an absolute bamboozling delight. Deliciously naughty, faultlessly sarcastic and witty (fans of the current ruling political party’s behaviour need not attend…), and genuinely surprising, it’s a fantastically good festive night out.

The costumes are spectacular, the variation in performances feels as though you’re at some sort of variety show in a parallel universe, and the small but perfectly formed crew have lots of pizazz and banter with each other throughout.

The drag elements (and the comical reading of sections of the original story) of the performance are amusingly unpolished at times, with a few slips and fumbled lines, but it just adds to the sense of chaos and befuddlement that the show is sizzling with.

The undeniable star of the show – though nobody tell Polly – is Bunmi Odumosu, the arial performer, who literally soars above the audience using silks, and is one of the most talented acts you’ll see all year. Without giving too much away, she plays a vast array of very different characters, and performs each one flawlessly – you won’t be able to take your eyes off her.

Overall, XXXmas Carol is like a grown-up version of your classic pantomime – but with heaps more talent, variation, swearing, and sass. If you’re looking for a great night out that’ll have you roaring with laughter and spitting out your drink at times, get your tickets while you can – and make sure you leave the kids at home.

Runs until 31 December 2021 

The Reviews Hub Score

A grown-up panto with lots of pizazz and banter

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The Reviews Hub - South West

The Southwest team is under the editorship of Holly Spanner. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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