Blind amateur opera singer Denise Leigh (pictured) will star in a festive dark comedy at east London’s Wilton’s Music Hall. The singer, who gained notoriety as one of the winners of Channel 4’s Operatunity, will appear in The Super Naughty Xxxmas Story from 5 to 31 December 2005 (previews from 29 November).

Russell Barr’s irreverent take on family life at Christmas is directed and designed by Netia Jones, and is described as a perfect antidote to “cheesy seasonal sentiment”. Like an episode of gritty family comedy Shameless, set amongst the Scottish Wee Free (Scottish Protestant Middle Classes), the catastrophic family Christmas uncovers a secret world of Jack Russells, perversity and dysfunction.

Actor and playwright Barr’s previous plays include the award-winning Sisters, Such Devoted Sisters, produced by Out of Joint at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2004. He also appeared in Out of Joint’s original production of Shopping and Fucking by Mark Ravenhill, and will be appearing in The Super Naughty Xxxmas Story.

Following her success on Operatunity, Leigh sang principal soprano in Verdi’s Rigoletto for the English National Opera (ENO) at the Coliseum, performed for the Queen at Kensington Palace and sang at the Royal Albert Hall and with the Royal London Philharmonic.

She and Barr are joined in the cast by Michael Nardone (Gagarin Way and Peribanez on stage), Joanna Scanlan (TV’s The Thick of It) and Lisa Hammond (TV’s Bleak House). Wilton’s, reputedly the oldest Music Hall in the world, is run by Frances Mayhew. The Super Naughty Xxxmas Story is the venue’s first commission of new work supported by the Arts Council. The show’s adult content means it is for over-16s only.

- by Caroline Ansdell