Holly-time folly

A Very Naughty Christmas (Woodward Productions)

La Boite Theatre, Roundhouse Theatre

December 1 – 17

Think you’ve been good this year? Well, “A Very Naughty Christmas” will soon fix that. Brisbane’s favourite adults-only yuletide comedy is back, more ridiculous than ever and now in its intimate new home of La Boite’s Roundhouse Theatre.

A winter wonderland has never been so hot when, shadowed away, Brisbane’s sexiest carollers wholesomely tell us to have ourselves a merry little Christmas, before launching into a string of yo mama type jokes escalated to the extreme to get audience members into the unique franchise’s feels-so-good-to-be-bad holiday spirit. The 80-minute 18+ musical Christmas comedy show, is now in its sixth year, which means its traditions are well and truly established. From an Andrews Sisters type number with a twist to an all-male “Mean Girls” ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ intro tease into a pumping twerking type number, familiar nods are there for repeat offenders to appreciate. There is also a sacrilegious story time share of the real tale of Christmas, a long time ago in a galaxy far away, with audience ‘volunteers’ making its nativity scene amongst the most memorable parts of the evening.

The adults-only tone of the show also remains well and truly intact, with its political incorrectness, dirty language and low brow humour all crafted together with wonderful wit. Stephen Hirst again has a charming appeal as the cheeky Nick, and his pants are off almost immediately with his introductory, almost gospel-esque ‘Back Door Santa’ number. And later there is his cleverly-crafted, innuendo-laden, suggestive ho ho ho share about what Mrs Claus potentially gets up to at the North Pole et al.

The ensemble cast of scantily clad performers share in bringing us all sorts of salacious segments as cast regulars Hirst, Emily Kristopher, Aurélie Roque, and Shay Debney are joined by newcomers Ethan Jones, Em Whitefield and Taylah Ferguson. And while all performers are very good at what they each do, Debney is both a standout and an audience favourite as he scampers around as Santa’s poor put-upon elf, especially in his bounce about in ‘Six White Boomers’.

A live band (Dominic Woodhead on keys and guitar, Tom Collins on guitar and bass and Chris Evans on drums) helps in bringing to life the show’s soundtrack of Christmas classics as never heard before, and providing the bed upon which vocalists lay some splendid harmonies including in the traditional closer ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’. Yaxley, in particular, showcases some strong vocals in ‘Never Fall in Love with an Elf’, delivering the number from the Broadway musical based on the beloved 2003 movie about Buddy the Elf with a combination of wry pizazz and heartfelt lament. And thanks to Kristopher, you will likely never listen to the Divinyls quite the same way again.

Things are updated in light of 2022 events with lyrical mentions of Elon Musk and an attempted Tik-tok type of rebranding of Santa. After we hear about how Santa discriminates according to socio-economic status in this time of cost-of-living concerns, there’s also a high-energy Christmas can-can reminder of the shopping centre and family lunch elements of the most wonderful time of year, cresendoing into a spelling out in choreography moves, ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ style.

With numbers featuring burlesque, tap and even some riverdance moments, there is something for everyone in “A Very Naughty Christmas”… apart from the easily offended. If you like having a laugh, partial nudity and a mixed playlist of classic carols to modern pop, the irreverence of “A Very Naughty Christmas” is sure to get you in the mood for the silliest of seasons. Its mischievous celebration of the season of holly is full of filthy, frisky folly, making it the perfect escape from your festive season stresses, for return and newbie audience members alike.

Photos c/o – Joel Devereux

‘tis the season for sexy

A Very Naughty Christmas (Woodward Productions)

Brisbane Powerhouse, Powerhouse Theatre

December 9 – 19

Featuring a live band and ten sexy performers, “A Very Naughty Christmas” is the holiday comedy event you didn’t know you had to experience. With Christmas classics as you’ve never heard them before, this show is bound to get you into the holiday spirit. And back as it is for its fifth helping, it really is the gift that keeps on giving…and giving… and giving, for this is Christmas at its most salacious.

The show’s adults-only sentiment is evident from the outset and from the moment things open with Steel Panther’s ‘Sexy Santa’, it is clear that Santa (Stephen Hirst) is the star of Christmas. Saucy from the start, he is down to his underwear within 10 minutes, such has become tradition of the totally inappropriate (#inagoodway) tone of the filthy festive folly. Aurelie Roque is similarly as wonderful as ever in delivery of jaded musical numbers and audience interaction alike, while an Andrews Sisters style bung, bung, bung, bung reappropriation of ‘Mr Sandman’ to ‘Mr Santa’ is full of suggestion. And audience participation in re-enactment of a “The Night Before Christmas” storytelling segment is hilarious as always.

This is low brow humour, but crafted with wonderful wit. Indeed, it is surprising how many opportunities there are for punny innuendo around the iconography of this time of year. The scripts and musical numbers alike are full of clever erotic worsmithery, especially in their ability to keep the show fresh for a fifth season. Still, appearance of a “Mean Girls” ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ from Santa and his helpers goes down a treat as it has in the past.

After Emily Kristopher’s play up of the controversial ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ in attempted seduction of Elliot Baker and a desirous duet proposition of Santa in a highly-suggestive ‘Santa Baby’, one of the funniest face-hurting-from-laughter scenes comes from an attempted redirection of the tone of Santa’s message to be 2021 appropriate and inoffensively non-specific.

Directed and choreographed by Dan Venz and Maureen Bowra the energy of the show’s electric performers (Aurelie Roque, Carla Beard, Dan Venz, Elliot Baker, Emily Kristopher, Kate Yaxley, Patrick Whitbread, Shay Debney, Stephen Hirst and Taylah Ferguson) never wanes. And the live band (Chris Evans, David Spicer and Elliot Parker) is excellent in both turning familiar songs like ‘Santa Clause in Coming to Town’ into something never before imagined and adding energy to numbers like an SNL Christmas song classic.

With sexy carollers, a divine disco number and a tap-dancing nutcracker soldier, Brisbane’s favourite adults-only Christmas comedy is sure to have you feeling festive throughout. The now comedy cabaret tradition’s frisky fun is full of highlights, the memory of which will stay with you long afterwards, even if only in consideration of how dirty Christmas talk can literally spice up your life. With its peppering of pop culture references (including Elliot Baker leaning more into mumbling Mr Bean contrivances) and new take on mischievous Christmas concepts, “A Very Naughty Christmas” is sure to take its non-feint-hearted audience members on a sleigh ride to hilarity, regardless if they are on the naughty or nice lists.