How to Catch a Krampus review at Pleasance Theatre, London – ‘gothic high camp’
The queer collective Sink the Pink mounts a show at Christmas, but remarkably this is the first time that it has ever taken place in a theatre.
How to Catch a Krampus is a celebration of gothic camp horror. A mother has lost her child and fears that the Christmas demon known as the Krampus has taken him.
Author Ginger Johnson has crafted a rather convoluted tale that contains moments genuine pathos, though these are tempered by some of the outrageous and often frankly bizarre comedy routines that have become a trademark of the Sink the Pink crew.
Johnson herself takes centre stage, a stylised Victorian bustle adding to her usual swagger as she introduces segments of the show in a music hall style. It’s a cliche perhaps, but one that’s handled with originality and offers each member of the team a chance to shine outside the ensemble. Mahatma Khandi lip-syncs her way through grand opera, Mairi Houston’s concise vocals soar, lending texture to the musical numbers and David Cumming excels as a creepy therapist with mother issues.
Beyond Johnson’s bravura turn as the lusty redhead with a past there’s veteran Lavinia Co-op who steals the limelight with a mock trial, a fabulous wig and a Rihanna cover that brings the house down.
As a whole the show would benefit from some editing but otherwise Johnson’s script is intelligent, enlightening and packed with laughs.
As designer, Johnson fills the stage with texture and shadows that complement the eerie story and some gravity defying bonnets amplify this gayest of excursions into Grand Guignol.
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