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REVIEW | Horrible Christmas | The Lowry

Christmas arrives at the Lowry in this hysterical time-travelling production by the Birmingham Stage Company and Derby Theatre in conjunction with the acclaimed Horrible Histories author Terry Deary.

Created with all the theatrical elements required for the perfect family Christmas extravaganza such as slapstick comedy, sing-a-long and audience participation, Horrible Christmas is an excellent twist on your usual Christmas production.

Telling the story of young Wendy Watson, who is sceptical that Santa really exists, she is eager to open her Christmas presents on Christmas Eve. She decides there isn’t any harm in having a sneaky peek, but is disappointed to find her gift is a Horrible Christmas book. Tossing it aside, she snoops around at the rest of her presents, but when her parents catch her, she is in big trouble.

That evening, she hides and witnesses the spiteful Sydney Claus stealing her presents and embarking on his mission to ruin Christmas. With the assistance of detective Shirley Holmes, Wendy travels back in time through history, following Sydney Claus and trying to undo his vicious actions.

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The story begins with Charles Dickens whilst he is writing A Christmas Carol, it continues onto the Puritans and eventually Henry the 8th in the Tudor time. Sprinkled with facts, we are taken through the history of Christmas and it’s origins – with many laughs along the way.

The script itself has pace with witty dialogue and playful production values. We see Oliver Cromwell (Neal Foster) doing a vivacious Christmas rap, but the highlight belongs to the Christmas turkey sing-a-long with Henry the 8th.

However, the show belongs to the evil Sydney Claus played by Chris Gunter. He captures the sinister and wicked nature of the character, and his interaction with the audience is exceptional. This is reflected in Neal Foster and Laura Dalgleish’s performances as their versatility is evident when they fully encapsulated every role they took on with exaggerative facial expressions and heightened accents.

Brighten up your Christmas with a dash of fun in this hilarious production of Horrible Christmas.

On at the Lowry until the 8th of January, tickets can be found here.

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