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Theatre Review: Thirty Christmases @ New Diorama Theatre


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The set has a kitchen, a fridge with Edgar Allen Poe's name, a mini-living room and a portrait of Karl Marx. Before the play begins, Jonny (Jonny Donahoe) and Rachel (Rachel Parris) give out paper Christmas hats, setting the mood for Thirty Christmases, a light-hearted Christmas musical play.

A play within a play, Rachel, and Jonny take you through a story of a selection of the Christmases from 1986 till the present day. This is because Jonny went to a therapy session and thought making a play would be cheaper. 

They are joined by Paddy (Paddy Gervers) who in the play within the play plays a variety of different roles - from Jonny and Rachel's socialist Jewish agnostic father to their Polish mother.

Scene by scene you get a calamitous tale of a family that was barely functioning with a variety of Christmas parody songs to boot. Gervers and Donahoe are fantastic on guitar, as is Parris on the keyboard and all three sing very well. 

The lyrics are quite frankly hilarious, reminding people "Don't be a prick at Christmas" and parodying popular festive tunes.

The scenes take you through several different locations, including as far away as Norway and the Lake District. Jonny seems to take his father's socialist message way further than Rachel, remembering all the good stuff and relating everything to capitalist greed. 

The piece is fairly interactive too, with the abnormal activities turning into festive traditions, audience members get to try baconnog and shrimpnog, after all, "Why is egg the only type of nog?"

The play has a friendly atmosphere, you laugh more than you cry, but there is a sense that the ending is rather anti-climatic and the play does lack a little of edge. However, if you just want to watch some comedy and get in the festive mood, Thirty Christmases is a good bet. 

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