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Review: The first XXXmas a Very Naughty-tivity

The First XXXmas: A Very Naughty-tivity

Following on from two years of sellout performances, it’s time to saddle up; as Wales Millennium Centre (WMC) and Duncan Hallis Production is back with its festive adult only panto in the intimate space of Weston Studio, Cardiff. 

The Weston Studio is a fantastic and versatile space, which is perfect for these types of events, and especially those with aerial trapeze. The space is able to cater for up to 170 guests, which makes it great for intimate performances such as this one.

The Weston Stadium, WMC

Seats are unreserved so make sure you arrive early to grab the best seats – although I don’t think there is a ‘bad seat’ in the house. What makes this space a little bit different to those in the Donald Gordon Theatre is that you have tables with an app-ordering service, allowing you to order drinks and snacks directly to your table.

The team that brought you their sell-out Christmas cabaret shows XXXmas Carol and The Lion, The B!tch and The Wardrobe are back to bring you their final festive fiasco. Because all good things come in threes, right?

We couldn’t think of a better way for this multi-talented bunch to spend their last Christmas at WMC, than by celebrating their last story with the very first one: The Nativity.

Fighting over the leading roles will be Polly Amorous, Jenna Dyckhoff, Rahim El Habachi, FooFoo LaBelle, Eric McGill and Bunmi Odumosu, bringing you their signature blend of sensational circus, bountiful burlesque, and jaw-dropping drag. They’re definitely going out with a bang.

As you expect from the title alone, this isn’t your normal Nativity. Expect shameless shepherds [straight from the audience], angels behaving badly, and some fairly carnal carpentry with Joseph. This alternative festive spectacle will have you gasping, giggling, and gagging for more!

Polly Amorous (Twm Boolean-Molloy)

Polly Amorous, is the alter ego of the absolutely fabulous Twm Bollen-Molloy with a personality the Weston Studio can hardly contain. Polly, takes on the role of leading lady [Mary] having an almost biblical visit from the angels, about how she will help save the world. Not quite sure about having a baby to help save mankind, Polly finds an alternative to file in that role and her heart is stolen by the smile of a beautiful balloon. 

Having to return to her hometown of Newport, for a census…a what? Polly must try to find somewhere to stay on a cold christmas day, as with any panto expect audience participation which may include reading from a projected script.

That’s not the only time you’ll see the projector utilised, with an impressive rendition of Angles in Welsh, Polly shows that she’s so much more than just a pretty face. You can sing along too, if you can make heads or tails of the words, Welsh isn’t the easiest language to learn. 

Trying to keep Polly and the show on track is Jenna Dyckhoff, this multi-talented individual is the musical accompaniment [piano, violin and saxophone] to the show, and has a stage presence that exudes confidence.

Where would Mary be without her Joseph the carnal carpenter played by Eric McGill, well she’d still have a partner or two or three because as her name suggests Polly by name and by nature. 

Eric McGill as Joseph Photo: Kirsten McTernan

If you’re squeamish this may not be for you, not to give too much away but Joseph seems to take a hammering quite a different way to most. Not only can Joseph nail things, the rules of physics don’t seem to apply as he takes to the trapeze in a gravity defying display. This left us more than once gasping in relief when he safely remained in the air [though you see the safety harness securely attached].

Multi-roling and proudly displaying his heritage and body confidence – that makes us feel like we need to take a step in this direction – Rahim El Habachi has a personality that is truly inspiring. Rahim’s belly dancing is seductive, with hips that put Shakira to shame – and had me google belly dancing lessons at the end of the show.

Rahim El Habachi in front of FooFoo LaBelle (Stephanie Gawne) Photo: Kirsten McTernan

When Rahim sang “Asfour” in Arabic (the name means bird), it set goosebumps up our arms and neck. The story of this song is about a broken bird trying to escape from a cage, this hits very close to home considering the current situations around the world.

FooFoo LaBelle (Stephanie Gawne) Photo: Kirsten McTernan

The wonderful and titillating FooFoo LaBelle (Stephanie Gawne), gifts the audience a comedic performance with reference to the recent documentary about a certain well-known shopping and delivery website. One lucky audience member will even get to unwrap that present. 

Bunmi Odumosu Photo: Kirsten McTernan

From a cute little lamb in need of herding that rounds up the shepherds herself, to a primal tribal dance. Bunmi Odumosu, is quite the whip cracker and shows that air display is a true art, and comes in many forms. Bunmi, like other cast members, brings her heritage to the show and proudly displays it.

Christmas is a time when you think about families, pantos and how magical this time of year is for children. It’s rare to find something that is aimed at adults, it’s also quite nice to have the option – should you wish to leave the children with their grandparents – to have an evening of uninterrupted adult Christmas fun.  

If you’re a bit rowdy or start to heckle, you can expect Polly to give back what is dished out. This show is not for the faint hearted or the easily offended, you have been warned.

This is a fun, festive, cabaret spectacular. However, we wanted to share some important content warnings beforehand to ensure that everyone is safe and happy in the space.

The show contains adult content including: very strong and offensive language; images of and references to war, including genocide; images relating to self harm and suicide; references to homophobia, racism, xenophobia; nudity; sexual references and scenes of a sexual nature; insertion of foreign objects into a body.

This performance also contains: strobe lighting, sudden loud noises, blood, fire, smoke and haze.

Running time: approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes(including 1 interval)

Strictly 18+. Leave the kids at home.

Not only is this show catering for LGBTQ+, hetrosexuals and non-binary this show is fully accessible with BSL interrupted shows on 14th and 30th December and audio descriptive shows on 16th and 20th December.

Find out more and book your tickets here.