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Badjelly’s Bad Christmas

Published Thursday 2 December 2010 at 12:35 by Jonathan Lovett

“Due to circumstances beyond our control, the second half will begin shortly.”

The nonsense of Spike Milligan meets the madness of Chickenshed and the results are suitably deranged.

Taking the best and verse of Milligan’s children’s stories and poems, the Shed’s resident yuletide anarchist, David Carey, has achieved the playwright’s equivalent of nailing jelly to a wall through a series of delightfully ludicrous adventures.

The postage stamp of a plot has two nagging sisters and their grandad searching for Badjelly the Witch (Charlotte Bull - reminiscent of a black ink spot on blotting paper) who has their magic baubles.

Cue journeys to the Land of the Bumbly Boo and a rather sinister Ning Nang Nong - to remind us not everything was sweetness and light in Milligan’s world - climaxing in a delirious Itchy Koo Hip Hopera where The Werkling just about pips Badjelly in rapping utter nonsense.

If that wasn’t hectic enough, it’s all duplicated just to the side of the main action as three brilliant young performers not just sign but enact the entire piece in a virtual mini play within a play.

Impressively shepherding the massed ranks once again is Louise Perry, with Mary Ward’s assistance. A little more fire in its bad belly in the first half and a little less from the band - in danger of drowning out those hilarious lyrics - and I’m sure Milligan will be dancing and blowing raspberries from the wings.

Production information

Chickenshed, London, December 1-January 15

David Carey
Louise Perry, Mary Ward
Cast includes:
Charlotte Bull, Joseph Morton, Mark Lees, Robin Shillinglaw, Gavin May, Emma Cambridge, Belinda McGuirk, Jelena Budimir, Loren Jacobs, Nigel Spurgeon, Dina Williams
Running time:
2hrs 5mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15