Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Christmas Farce review at Waterloo East Theatre, London – ‘forced silliness’

Scene from Christmas Farce at Waterloo East, London Scene from Christmas Farce at Waterloo East, London
by -

Shaun Kitchener’s Christmas Farce, set in the green room of a contemporary retelling of the Nativity on press night, is rife with “Ooh, matron!” moments. That is, the kind of humour that thrives in an atmosphere of high colour, unsubtle flamboyance, which can be funny in small doses even if the appeal quickly wears thin. In the case of Kitchener’s play while some of these moments are fun, many others fall flat.

Parody-posh thespian homophobe Jonathan (Timothy George) locks horns with closeted radio personality Danny (Samuel Buttery) while Jonathan’s name-dropping nearly-ex-girlfriend Georgie (Katherine Edrupt) seduces actor Samuel (Alan Bradley). Kitchener’s plot includes such mishaps as vomiting understudies, not-so-clandestine affairs, jealous bitching and the sight of disgraced former soap star Stacey (Jamie-Rose Monk) teetering on the edge of a breakdown.

Stage manager Mackenzie (fidgety, excellent Marc-Gee Finch) adds some emotional depth to this frantic, over-the-top comedy, but his subplot romance with Danny treads a difficult line between laughing with and laughing at the two gay characters.

Though meant as an alternative panto, Stephen Davies’ production simply supplies more forced silliness. It occasionally tickles the audience’s ribs but eventually it becomes exhausting.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Camp backstage Christmas caper enhanced by near-hysterical performances