Thrice the naughty > nice

A Very Naughty Christmas (Understudy Productions)

Brisbane Powerhouse, Visy Theatre

December 4 – 15

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“Get ready to have your stocking stuffed … Santa’s pulled a brand-new show out of his sack, and you’ll find something you love, whether you’ve been naughty or nice” …. so the advertising for the third year of “A Very Naughty Christmas” promises. Carols by candlelight it isn’t; this is low brow humour at it most improper (though it does include a punctuation joke). The sensibility is the same as its previous incantations, although there is no real narrative this time. Rather, the show is more cabaret style escapism featuring a range of musical styles and even a tap number, all with its trademark sense of cheeky fun.

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Aurélie Roque is every bit the bitter vixen in her share of a filthy and fabulous ‘Jingle Bells’ and Stephen Hirst makes for an exciting sexy and suggestive Santa, even in an almost disturbingly dark ‘Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town’. Naughtiness is all through the Visy Theatre house, not just through bauble shaking, but also in the show’s clever changes to the lyrics of popular Christmas songs to make them more mischievous (Standouts include a highly-suggestive and absolutely hilarious ‘Santa Baby’).

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Andrew Sisters with a twist take us from an upbeat ‘Let it Snow’ to a bouncy ‘Six White Boomers’ number. And it is particularly pleasing to see the return of a choreographically-perfect “Mean Girls” ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ routine, a clear audience favourite. There is even a Christmas story as cue for audience participation, with ‘volunteers’ making its nativity scene among the most memorable you will ever see.

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Rather than rely on laughs alone, the show also stands on its musical merits through the showcase of wonderful harmonies. Indeed, all numbers display the abundance of vocal talent within its cast and the live band (Chris Evans on drums, Elliott Parker on bass and Musical Director Jake Bristow on keys) is excellent in filling familiar songs with energy and interest.

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Elliot Baker showcases his incredible vocals in an alternative take on the traditional song ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’, with bombshell babe Emily Kristopher, and his Mr Bean-ish lead of the band in a jazzy ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’, is a late-show highlight. And, as he has in its every outing, Stephen Hirst again slays it as the show’s deviant Santa (#punintended)

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This is Christmas as you’ve never seen before, unless you were lucky enough to experience the show in 2017 and/or 2018. Its only shame is that Santa only comes once a year…

Photos – c/o Joel Devereux

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