How To Catch a Krampus
Sink the Pink and Pleasance Theatre
I wasn’t feeling at all Christmassy until I saw drag collective Sink the Pink's show, How To Catch A Krampus which puts the claws into Christmas if not actually Santa.
The Krampus of the title is a half human-half animal combo with all the charm of The Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, presented to kiddies across a vast swathe of Europe as the ultimate corrective.
In days of old, whilst St Nick would come to bestow gifts on the virtuous children, his horned companion the Krampus would mete out punishments on the small people who didn’t make the grade in the goody-goody stakes.
Like this strange odd couple of Christmas, and much inspired by Victorian traditions, the show is made up of the contrasting grisly tale of a sister whose young brother has mysteriously gone missing and music hall entertainment.
Written and directed by Ginger Johnson, and with Ginger playing the has-been mystic who helps find the small boy, little wonder after such investment that it is Ginger that carries this part of the show.
The Dame in all but name, completely at home with the melodrama of the setting, Ginger drives the action with an abundance of warmth, energy and a sharp way with blunt put-downs.
There are other references to Christmas shows past too such as the guiding voices of ghostly tortured souls that wouldn't have been out of place in Scrooge's house, magic and a bit of audience participation.
When the red curtain is periodically drawn and we are back in the music hall, there is a range of speciality acts from operatic lip synching to spoof Christmas album adverts.
Whilst the morris dancing troupe outstayed its welcome by two thirds, the singing was impressive with some great settings by musical director Sarah Bodalbhai who formed the band with sound designer Alicia Turner.
You can't go wrong with Tom Lehrer's "Masochism Tango", here the star turn of David Cumming (choreography by Chester Hayes), and Lavinia Co-Op of pioneering drag troupe Bloolips would have stolen the show with Rihanna's "S&M" if it hadn’t been for the super-revolting, macabre climax that screams Grand Guignol loud enough to make you spill your drink.
If it all sounds rather freakish, it is; rather freakish and rather fun.
For adults only.
Reviewer: Sandra Giorgetti