Category Archives: Theatre

Review ‘Wife of Cyncoed’, Sherman Theatre by Katie Berrisford

Image Mark Douet

This was an absolute celebration of so many aspects of life that can be easily missed; self-love (in all manners of the word), companionship and reconnection. This one woman show gracefully took us through a myriad of scenes, drawing us into Jane’s life and leaving me on the edge of my seat. Carrying a multitude of character can be very tricky, and indeed could have at times been slightly clearer, but Vivien Parry’s performance was a triumph that garnered a standing ovation at the end.

April Dalton’s set at first looked incredibly simple but tuned out to be perfect- a little dull at first but hiding a lot of light and fun. The carpet was the perfect background for Jane’s transformational experiences and was elevated by Katy Morison’s lighting and Sam Jones’ sound designs, transporting us from Roath Park to London to dancing naked in Caerleon.

Hannah Noone’s direction was understated but allowed Parry’s sensuality to shine and roam around the whole stage space.
To me, the show felt like it would hit every audience member differently. There was a lot I could relate to, but a lot that would hit differently depending on the time of life you saw it.

One of the main messages that I took away from Matt Hartley’s script was that it’s never too late. Never too late to find yourself, have those conversations that are needed or to become a better person. It was a subtle story of redemption for all the characters, and I left wishing every character we met the best as they carry on their life well after we’ve left the auditorium.

Sherman Theatre is known for its young plays and dynamic work, so seeing a story of an older woman was a breath of fresh air, I just hope that younger audiences aren’t put off from attending as they would be missing out. It runs at The Studio until March 23rd with a range of prices for all ages.


Image Mark Douet

Writer: Matt Hartley

Director: Hannah Noone

Designer April Dalton

Composer and Sound Designer Sam Jones

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Reviewing a new play – and, furthermore, a one-woman play – is guaranteed to send a frisson of excitement down the spine of even the most seasoned of reviewers. The Wife of Cyncoed does that in spades, an added bonus being that the monologue is played out by none other than Vivien Parry – and what a tour de force it is for this Welsh actress!

On stage non-stop in a monologue that lasts for one and a half hours with no interval, Parry – who performed in a preview on her 60th birthday – gives it all she has got from start to finish. Taking place in the upmarket Cardiff suburb of Cyncoed and the atmospheric Lakeside area, this – the first production of the season for the Sherman – has a make-or-break quality about it, in reference to both the plotline and the setting.

Fear you not – this monologue from the pen of writer Matt Hartley could be set pretty well anywhere. The story – that of Jayne, a newly divorced woman whose life takes an unexpected turn, offering her an opportunity that she may or may not be brave enough to take – manages to be both entertaining and poignant, a tale of self-discovery, and second chances, of a road that may or may not be taken.

A monologue is a genre that depends not only on the writing but on the delivery (think Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads and the iconic Thora Hird). In Hartley’s monologue, the multi-talented Parry, seen recently in Cabaret in London’s West End and well-known to Welsh audiences for her sterling work with Theatr Clwyd, steps up to the challenge head on. Parry taking command of the stage from her first entry. Not only does she become Jayne but in using different voices with maximum effect changes character to reflect other people in her story, in particular her two grown up children, with whom- to say the least of it – she doesn’t always see eye to eye.

Parry gives a brilliant and empathetic performance, but could do with slowing down her delivery a tad at times in the first hour. Having said that: full marks and more for amazing movement and dance, giving full justice to the underlying message, described by Hartley as “A a howl of rage against how older women are perceived and overlooked.,” and getting under the skin of the character warts and all.  Staging is at a minimum (not even a chair) but Katy Morison’s clever lighting and Sam Jones atmospheric sound track provide this with effect while remaining unobtrusive when necessary.

Could this be one for Edinburgh Fringe? Yes. For Hartley’s monologue – the story of a woman of a certain age with the message that life is for living – could be set anywhere.

Runs until 23rd March 2024 at Sherman Theatre, Cardiff


 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

A production by the Crime and Comedy Theatre Company created on the 120th anniversary of the story, this is presented as a radio-play live on stage. Starring Colin Baker, Terry Molloy and Dee Sadler, it’s been adapted and directed by Martin Parsons.

One of the most famous cases faced by Sherlock Holmes, it’s actually based on Conan Doyle’s third novel, and sees the detective consulted by Dr Mortimer on behalf of her friend Sir Charles Baskerville, who has just inherited the title after the strange, untimely death of his father. She reveals the dark, centuries old curse on the family and asks for Holmes help to prevent the new heir suffering the same fate as the last.

Maybe it’s the concept, the classic story or even the way the actors and director convey the story, but there is something so warm and old fashioned about this production. A merging of a theatrical play and a radio mystery broadcast, it works as both. In fact, I enjoyed closing my eyes and listening to the sound effects of the countryside, the birds, the animals and even the weather. It gives a much richer atmosphere to the play and adds an extra dimension to the story. Such sounds are not immediately apparent with your eyes open, it really evokes the eeriness of the moor, and brings the story to life. In fact, for people who have loved ones who are blind or partially-sighted, this is an excellent opportunity to see things from their perspective, to share a performance you can both enjoy equally. My late mother lost her sight in old age, I think she would have loved this show.

There’s a vein of humour running through it to relieve the tension, some tongue in cheek, and plenty of in-jokes and references to other stories for Holmes fans, including one of the most famous and chilling lines from the stories: “Mr Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound.”
The cast of seven are excellent, and a special mention must go to Martin Parsons for the adaptation. Although a Holmes fan I’ve never really cared for this story, but it’s made me reassess my opinion. Go see it, enjoy it, maybe even close your eyes, but remember, whatever you do, don’t try to cross the moor at night….

You can find out more about this production here

Review: The Wizard of Oz, Venue Cymru by Richard Evans

Venue Cymru, Llandudno March 5th – 9th 2024, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff July 23-28th and touring

 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Produced by Michael Harrison and Gavin Karin Productions. By arrangement with the Really Useful Group Limited. Adapted by Andrew Lloyd Weber from the 1939 Motion Picture.  Book by L. Frank Baum

Somewhere over the rainbow… in a land that I heard of once in a lullaby

Why has this film and subsequent musical retained its attraction?  In the preface to his book, L. Frank Baum describes the book as a modernised fairy tale in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heartaches and nightmares are left out.  It is this fantasy and escapism that has proved enduring, for the same reason, Star Wars has retained its appeal. 

The storyline starts with a petulant Dorothy who feels a common teen angst where she feels neglected.  On running away, she is transported to a fantasy land and seen as a hero for accidentally killing the wicked witch of the east.  She then embarks on a journey to Oz, to see the wizard and gain the means to go home.  She encounters various characters and makes firm friends with the brainless scarecrow, heartless tin man and cowardly lion.  In order to earn her passage home and to find respectively a brain, a heart and some courage, the intrepid four are sent on an arduous task, to bring the broomstick to the wizard of the wicked witch of the west.  

This story is well known and ranks among many peoples favourites so it is a challenge to bring it to the stage once again in a fresh way.  This production adds a bit of glitz and glamour to do this, the props are minimalistic, but the music and video backdrop add plenty of pizazz to proceedings. Some of the visuals are stunning, notably the tornado scene which was highly effective, and in general they are used imaginatively to set the scene and augment the action.  

The cast have a couple of celebrity names, Gary Wilmot gives an assured performance as Professor Marvel and the Wizard while The Vivienne, winner of the first series of Ru Paul’s drag race makes a threatening, devious Wicked Witch of the West.  However, the show is carried by Dorothy, played by Aviva Tulley.  She made ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’, the signature song, her own and was a lively presence throughout.  The supporting cast were energetic and committed, making this a fast paced, joyful experience.  

The musical is faithful to the original story and incorporates most of the favourite songs from the 1939 film as well as some more contemporary numbers from its recent revival.  However, the production lacks the simplicity and innocence of the film, replacing it with the loud score and striking visuals.  Does is loose some of its allure in this process?  

There is plenty of enduring meaning here, not least, your heart, brain and courage are latent inside you.  Dorothy learns to appreciate home when she understands what she is missing.  But it is in joyful escapism that this story comes to life.  It is a colourful interlude from the mundane, gritty reality of life.  This may explain its appeal to marginalised groups in our society but there is enough here for anyone to identify with and makes this a warm, feel good experience that is well worth seeing.

REVIEW: Hadestown by Sian Thomas

I had the pleasure of seeing Hadestown live in the West End on March 3rd, 2024. It was in the Lyric Theatre – a beautiful and ornate setting for this play, and thankfully, came equipped with the brilliantly rotating floor that’s perfect for this show. Hadestown is a musical that I’ve been listening to since about 2018, and unfortunately for me – I discovered it right after it had ended its first London debut with its test run of shows, and have been waiting for it to return ever since. Which, in a way, is very relevant and poetic of me. This is a musical that I’ve always found fantastic, either the Broadway or Off-Broadway version, and now the West End version too, since I always knew I’d more than just enjoy seeing the production live.

I would describe Hadestown as one of my favourite musicals of all time, and having the opportunity to see it live was not lost on me. I was emotional from the first few notes (and cried more often during the show than just during the ending – anyone sitting near me was a trooper for sure).

I’ve always loved the way its themes seem to rise above the era. When I first discovered it in 2018, I’d had no idea it had been around and predated Off-Broadway with even earlier versions of the recording by Anais Mitchell, since I had assumed there were implications of the 2016 US election, general poverty, and the Great Depression in there. And, there are, but there’s more than that, too – so much of the story circles all the way back around to love, and trust, and faith in yourself and in each other.

The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is, and remains in this production, a tragedy – which I knew going in, though I still found myself weepy when it happened – and coupled with the mirror of Hades and Persephone, the show is perfect for a Greek mythology enjoyer, as well as anyone who appreciates a good song and dance number, and hands you a good excuse to cry in a theatre from the story.

Softened to the original Broadway recording, I went into the West End production fairly blind to the casting choices.

The acting and singing, and general performance, of each cast member was genuinely incredible. I’d have to pinpoint Gloria Onitiri’s performance of Our Lady of the Underground as my absolute favourite song from the show – which was a surprise for me, as the songs that I tend to gravitate back to the most is Wait for Me, and its reprise. She deserved her flowers and more for that performance, and I’m sure she gives that same energy each night. Genuinely a delight to watch her sing one of the greatest notes in the whole show.

Overall, this show was already near and dear to my heart, but this production was absolutely phenomenal, and worth seeing again and again.

Sian Thomas

Review, RSC, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Stratford-upon-Avon by James Ellis

Photo credit: Pamela Raith

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

In this brandnew production of Dream from the RSC comes delight, humour and awe. I first got my teeth in the play in college and fell in love with it ever since.

There is real joy here, director Eleanor Rhode has gone all out with massive scope. Lucy Osborne’s design is multi-coloured filling the stage with ladders, giant hanging orbs and soaring platforms. Another huge element to proceedings is John Bulleid as illusion director and designer. The magic on display is nothing sort of astounding, the video work and little lights in the actors palms are also really nice touches. This all works wonders in the space.

The band are another sensation, thanks to the score of Will Gregory brimming with sass, flair and nods to several genres. The cast are huge and marvellous. Much marketing has been done on Mathew Bayton as Bottom, which is valued (can’t get over the appalling sideburns!) but the rest of the cast are also stars and rising talent. Mathew plays the role with his usual wide eyed mirth, a snapping comic timing and an understated insecurity that Bottom calls for. His donkey transformation sees ears which can move of their own accord, one of many funny moments. From Romeo & Julie and Machinal, Rosie Sheehy as Puck was a familar face. She works mightly well in the role, the image of Heath Leger’s Joker, one of several punk trappings. I love her ornamented accent in the role, brimming with grit, bite, resentment and a wistful endurance.

Many cast members stand out and there is much to shout about. The lovers shine Hermia, Demetrius, Lysander and Helena thanks to the efforts of razor sharp quartet: Dawn Sievewright, Nicholas Armfield, Ryan Hutton and Boadicea Ricketts. There absurd little moments are noteworthy, the lovers should be particularly physical and highly caffeinated. Ryan’s leaping, Nicholas’ marital arts postures, Boadicea’s shrieking and Dawn’s rages are left in the brain. The rest of The Mechanicals shine, the indifference of Emily Cundick’s Snout, Snug from Laurie Jamieson as a lovable dimwit. The Pyramus and Thisbe wrap up should be the funniest scene of the play and here it was. Given a loving send up of Giallo horror films, with plenty of deep red blood and cheap, anxious keyboard chords to boot.

Helen Monks is Peter Quince the flustered director for their little play, not really seen enough in the role. As Starveling, Premi Tamang came into her own as Moon in the outlandish Pyramus set, her smug face and flickering torch is one of my favourite moments. Nitesh Soni as Flute is another adorable addition to the actors group, another comedic discovery. We don’t see as such the Forrest Nymphs, though the light and effects did most of the work here, each of the actors voiced the tiny roles with conviction. Barry Gill as Theseus faired well in delivery, though I found he did little with a straight laced Oberon, though this punk attire was a standout. Airline Saba, as both Titania and Hippolyta exuded a fierce persona for each and a sensusal use of mannerism. Neil McCaul seen for a shortlist while at the start and end is Egeus, outraged over the young lovers actions, as the show starts off with a serious tone.

I’ve left little of the story out of this review, it being pretty well known. I would recommend a trip to Stratford for this gem of a show.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs till 30 March 2024.

Review Ben & Imo, RSC Stratford-upon-Avon by James Ellis

Photo credit: Ellie Kurttz

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

In the centenary year of his birth, I attended Benjamin Britten’s prized creation: the Aldeburgh Festival in Suffolk. Walking to his grave, I spoke in one of my awful poem’s how I “staggered sharply” to pay my respects. His black megalith, is paired with his life partner Peter Pears, singer of renowned who created many of Britten’s tenor roles. Behind them is Imogen Holst.

Daughter to Gustav Holst, renowned for the eternal Planets Suite, Imogen had a gun-ho attitude to her career in music. She kept up morale during WWII, teaching children and amateurs to play instruments and sing. This new play by Mark Ravenhill sees her friendship formulate with Britten, over the terrifying commission of Gloriana, for the Queen’s coronation. With 9 months till the premiere, their relationship is greatly tested through power dynamics, sexual politics, class, position and taste. Though I did not find any great appeal in her compositions, she remains a female composer of note, not just for assisting in an opera and festival planning.

Imo is billed as a musical adviser to the creation of the opera. She dips in and out of the role, notes and advice abound about the score, cast and programming. Ben’s depression, bad arm and composer’s block is what makes the creation so fraught, his cageyness about Imo is another huge barrier about what she is on the project. Ravenhill’s knows his stuff, his work in the operatic form lies in his back catalogue. There is a depth in his characters, who seem to brush aside the total nonsense of the world. It is eloquently written, possibly working better as a one act show around 95 minute mark, like the radio play it is based on.

Director Erica Whyman has created a intimate show in the Swan Theatre. The space may evoke Shakespeare’s Globe, yet the back wall had a feel of Britten’s own Snape Maltings, with beach shingle spread across the floor. The soundscape is of the sea through out, expected due to the setting (Britten’s exposed house gets flooded at Christmas). The score by Conor Mitchell is a dastardly wonder, piano heavy and not heard enough. Connor Fogel playing live offstage was a wonderous addition, adding a live musical elevation to the show. This how ever didn’t stop the actors from both pretend playing the revolving piano on stage, with it spurts of water during the flood scene. Both Conor and Connor have had fun on the music side of things, the references to Britten in the score are there apparently to point out.

As Britten, Samuel Barnett looks the part, the curly, tempered hair, the clothes and glasses. His face does capture something of the composer if only a little. The sensible, then furious mood swings are delivered well. Britten would not have been an all rounded figure to gel with, how easy it was to be excluded at the drop of a hat. There was tenderness too, the love for Imo still there even in roaring insults. Victoria Yeats is chatty, whimsical, yet still grounded as Imogen. She arrives almost like Mary Poppins into the space. Yeats seems to brush off most of the tantrums of her fellow composer, like a mother, sibling and at times a wife. She stands her ground with Barnett in moments of shouty confrontation, all for the good of music making.

The second act sees the most patient driver in existence, as the tense morning before trying out the opera in London is delayed due to Imo’s tardiness. There is much yelling and poison from both, it could have almost turned physical. This is a work of fiction about two recent creative lives, people who knew them both are still around. I wonder just how catty things really got between them…

Though the opera Gloriana itself, does have its fans, it is nowhere Britten’s best. Much is said of a flop at its opening and though it has seen some stagings here and there, there is still life in the show yet. Ben & Imo proves just how intense a process it was to make.

Ben & Imo runs till 6 April 2024

Review Murder in the Dark, New Theatre,Cardiff by Jane Bissett

 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Murder in the Dark was not exactly what I had expected and I did wonder by the early reaction of other theatre goers close by, if it had been what they had been expecting.

Wonderfully played out, this production had us drawn in by the end of the first scene.  Seldom have I been to any play that has had the ability, so quickly, to engage with an audience where you actually felt as if you are there, as part of the very story itself.

Without giving away any spoilers, the plot centres around Danny (Tom Chambers), a ‘famous’ musician who has been stranded on New Years eve following a car crash.  Mrs Bateman (Susie Blake) offers him an opportunity to stay overnight in her holiday let on a farm in the middle of nowhere.

What transpires next is a revelation into family relationships and the mysteries of the mind.

Brilliantly cast, with Rebecca Charles as Rebecca, Jonny Green as Jake and Owen Oakeshott as Will and Laura White as Sarah.  This tight group of actors certainly took us on a journey where none of us could have predicted the destination or outcome.  

I have never been to play where there was so much audience reaction with audible intakes of breath and laughter when the characters made comments that we could all have made in the circumstances they found themselves with laughter as light relief, or was it really to suppress the fear of the situation?? 

Written by Torben Betts, best known for his dark comedies of social embarrassment with a smattering of political commentary thrown in, this was departure from his usual writing.  

Directed by Philip Frank, this masterpiece of theatre was almost an immersive experience and I think best played in an intimate theatre space. The New Theatre, Cardiff, the ideal venue and assisted in helping create the an atmosphere and mood needed to enjoy this production to its fullest.

The design of the set as both realistic and clever and the designers, Simon Kenny for set and Max Papenheim for sound, created the perfect on stage environment for the telling of this particular tale.

Intrigued? Murder in the Dark Plays at the New Theatre until Saturday 2 March.

Review, Hadestown, Lyric Theatre, London by James Ellis

Photo credit: Marc Brenner

 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

I’ve wanted to see Hadestown for sometime. Anas Mitchell has whipped up a frenzy with this Greek myth inspired musical take on the tale. This being it’s West End premiere, can it live up to the hype?

Whilst it might work better as a concept album, it is Mitchell’s songs which are the pulling power of Hadestown. The familiar story has been on stage and screen in varying styles, yet its the lack of innovation which bores here. This is one of the most famous stories in Western literature, with a real opportunity do something interesting with it. Granted the New Orleans style jazz and hearty folk stylings do meld only to a certain degree. Its the former which is punchy and keeps toes tapping. They could have even pushed the jazz even more from this golden band,

My main gripe is that this story (presented as it is) does not fill 2 hours of a show, this is made clear in the second act when Hades stops and pauses as the Furies sing about his indecisions to free our young couple. Some press night jitters also saw a hanky nearly fall and a few instances of mic scratches. We let this slide, as this press and guest night performance had great energy. The ensemble for the show are very impressive in their energy, their diverse apperance another great thing. Musically, they have the least interesting songs, the Fates might just claim that crown.

As a cast they are top tier. A spirit of a bard, Dónal Finn is Orpheus with piercing falsetto and an all round Irish charm. His love: Eurydice is Grace Hodgett Young who is equally matching Finn in voice and atmosphere. Melaine La Barrie is the wise Hermes, the narrator guide who really loves to belt out numbers and use a novelty train whistle of the underworld. Zachary James is Hades in the vain of the comic baddie, not really songs for a singer, more acting songs. He looks a bit like Wesker from Resident Evil and Robotnik from the Sonic franchise. Not much to the depth of the part other then having some mercy for the couple leading to an atmospheric trial home scene. Gloria Onitiri is an easy favourite as Pesephone, of colour and spring lost to the underworld. Some blazing moments with her, really stirring powerhouse songs and good fun too. The Fates: Bella Brown, Madeline Charlemagne and Allie Daniel are analysing and wild sparks to the party, their harmonies a revelation. 

Rachel Chavkin could have done more with this show as director. Something about it not filling it’s true potential, yet the show has become a hit. Some costumes and set pieces might not have wowed as much as they should. Steam punk, art noveau and the Wild West all seem to be a part of this, though only in suggestion. If kept shorter this could have worked better, the songs though getting love and the all round gun-ho attitude is what makes this memorable.  

Review The First XXXmas by Rhys Payne

 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

The First XXXmas is a brand new production from the creative team behind XXXmas Carol and the Lion, the B*tch and the Wardrobe (which you can read about here) This year they decided to showcase their version of the Nativity. The cast and crew clearly have a passion for showcasing queer and local artists as each show has contained drastic changes to bring the stories into the twenty-first century. For the past three years, I have been lucky enough to experience all of the crude Christmas productions that have taken place in the Wales Millennium Centre! While the majority of the cast has stayed the same throughout, each year has been a unique perspective of some of the most well-known Christmas stories and this year is probably the most well-known story to ever exist! With the Nativity in particular there is always a certain awkwardness when religion and queerness are involved in the same sentence as there has been a documented history between these two groups so to take on the birth of Jesus Christ is a very controversial story to re- imagine.

The show opens with the sober songbird of Splott Polly Amorous welcoming the audience where she is suddenly challenged by an all-knowing being to give birth to the saviour of the world. Those who know the original Nativity story well will know that Mary experienced an immaculate conception where supposedly no sexual activity took place. This led to Polly delivering a camp performance of “Like a Virgin” by Madonna which dipped its foot into the biblical story while keeping the show camp and modern. I thought that it was absolutely incredible that this number contained an actual violin and saxophone solo (performed by the insanely talented Jenna Dyckhoff) on the stage which are not things we see in the spotlight too often. One of my favourite performances of the evening occurred in the opening of the second act of this show as Polly Amorous delivered an incredible rendition of Robbie Williams’ hit “Angels.” Not only did this song tease a Christmas motif with the titular biblical characters but the vocals themselves were out of this world! This performance truly stepped up a level when Polly continued her wonderful vocals but this time in the Welsh language and then provided lyrics so that everyone could sing along. As a proud Welshman, seeing the language literally take centre stage is amazing and I wish that more productions implemented more of this dedication to promoting the language. As well as delivering two fantastic performances, Polly also had to drive the story which included ample audience participation which is something that fills me with fear just thinking about it never mind having to facilitate it after doing everything else!

Eric McGill is one of the performers who has been a part of all three of these queer reimaginings and yet he still seems to surprise the audience every time he graces the stage. His first performance of the evening saw him take on the role of Mary/Polly’s husband Joseph but in this performance, he was portrayed as a sexy carpenter. The act began with Eric essentially strutting through the audience while carrying a massive log and giving sensuality with every step. Once on the stage, the audience was treated to a brilliant strip tease that was met with thunderous applause! The joke of this performance however was it was alluded to that Joseph is not being as faithful as everyone thinks as the recognisable Grindr notification begins blasting from his pocket. Throughout the evening Eric showcased his wince-inducing ability to force a nail and screwdriver up his noise which sent shivers around my body every time this happened. However, during the second act, Eric decided to channel a much more intense and political underpinning. Now playing the role of the dastardly King Harold, Eric began his act in a bathtub as he began covering himself in blood to represent blood being in the hands of political leaders/the loss of innocent lives caused political leaders that still happens even today. On top of his usual mesmerising aerial talents, the added layer of meaning made for a unique yet transfixing performance. I also thoroughly enjoyed the performance of “Supernova” originally sung by Kylie Minogue as it was absolutely spectacular! While Eric showcased his gravity-defying tricks, Polly and Jenna showcased their vocal talents. At one point glitter was poured from the trapeze that rained onto both the performances and the audience below. I did not know where to look as something was going on in every section of the stage which all worked together to create an extremely exciting performance!

I have to admit that I think Bumni Odumosu drew the short straw in this production as she was forced into multiple animal outfits for her performance. The first time was as a donkey which helps Mary get to Bethlehem whereas the second one was a sheep. This second outfit was absolutely hilarious as two audience members were brought onto the stage to be Shepard’s are guarding the sheep only for her to fly into the air and display her incredible aerial skills. This left the two audience members lost for words as how were they supposed to protect someone who was dangling from the air which caused fits of laughter from the audience. One of the most powerful performances of the evening came from Rahim El Habachi who is usually known for his fun and energetic belly dancing (which he did still managed to showcase) however this time he decided to go down a much more political route. Underscored by the track “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” by the Drowning Pool, Rahim delivered an incredible message about our current treatment of refugees and how Jesus himself was in fact a refugee. This background music combined with the powerful message made for an incredible act that shocked the audience into utter silence so much so that people felt unsure whether to applaud at the end due to the intense message.

Overall, the First XXXmas had the potential to become an attack on religion but instead carefully played with the story to create a politically powerful and entertaining production. The variety of acts ensured that the audience never knew what to expect next with Polly Amorous showing everyone that she is in fact the hostess with the mostest! I would rate this production 5 out of 5 stars!