The best little warehouse in England: The Night Before Christmas @SWKplay
If you’re not into the Christmas spirit, you might be into Christmas dust. It’s the joyful powder the little elves put everywhere and it’s addictive. And distracts you from the shitty life you’re having right now... Anthony Neilson’s dark anti-festive comedy is having its first revival at the Southwark Playhouse.
Nothing’s off limits in this tale set in some out of town warehouse on Christmas Eve. Gary (Douggie McMeekin) has called his mate Simon (Michael Salami) for help. He’s caught some little bloke dressed up as an Elf trying to break in (Dan Starkey). He’s tied him up with Christmas lights and not sure what to do. But as they debate calling the police, a prostitute by the name of Cherry (Unique Spencer) comes calling. She’s after some Powers Ranger figures for her son’s Christmas present. It’s payment for the blowjob she gave Gary earlier. And nobody is sure if the Elf is who he says he is, or just a junkie trying to get his next fix.
That pretty much sets the tone in this short, dark comedy about the search for the true meaning of Christmas. The cast are hilarious as they riff on some of the more demented aspects of Christmas. There’s some nice updates to the piece here. Gary’s stock seems to consist mostly of stolen Amazon deliveries (something we call all identify now). And anti-Christmas tale, that actually becomes sentimental. Even if it isn’t to all tastes.
The cast at the end of each performance take up a collection for the homeless charity Centrepoint. Which is a chance to make a worthwhile contribution to a charity that supports young people to get off the streets. Be sure to have some spare change on hand at the end.
Directed by Alex Sutton, The Night Before Christmas is at the Southwark Playhouse until 29 December. Don’t confuse it for Seussical playing next door unless you want to mess with the minds of the little people you’re taking to that. Merry Christmas.
Photos by Darren Bell