Monday, 9 December 2013

Mme Poliakov's Spirit of Christmas

Since the Christmas that we know and love these days is pretty much a Victorian concept, it's fitting that Nuts and Volts Theatre Company's witty festive show has more than a sprinkling of Dickensian magic about it.

Gathering outside The Well House Tavern on Cathedral Yard on Saturday evening - thankfully well warmed by a bracing (purely medicinal) sup of Gluhwein from the market - we were greeted by Mr Grimley-Meagre, Mrs Scrimp and Mr Humbug with the promise of an audience with the 'richest woman in the world' - Madame Poliakov! Hustled down to the cellar of the pub (where you can see the remains of an unfortunate nun and her monk lover, who pitched themselves into the well to seek union in death), we await the great lady's arrival and the revelation of her new concoction - the 'Spirit of Christmas'...

What follows is 20 minutes of festive fun, ghoulish spectacle and as many dropped consonants as you can fit in Oliver Twist's pockets. All three performers (Rachel Vowles, Fin Irwin and Richard Feltham) revel in the grimy melodrama conjured by the setting, the script and the conceit, and there's a piece of classic Victorian trickery that is surprisingly effective and delightfully gruesome (I practically elbowed my way to the front to get a good view!) I defy you not to come skipping out with your heart full of tinsel.

It's a tiny space down in the cellar, so audiences are limited to 12 per show - gather early to avoid disappointment. And it's a 'gift' from the performers - you pay what you think it's worth, donations are collected at the end. Happy Christmas!

You can next see Madame Poliakov's Spirit of Christmas on:

Thursday 12th December -  4pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm
Saturday 14th December -  4pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm
Thursday 19th December - 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm