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Stephen & the Sexy Partridge

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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In Stephen and the Sexy Partridge a ‘Scroogey git’ is given a seasonal makeover after spending time with supernatural apparitions. But instead of usual trio of Christmas ghosts, Stephen gets a surreal tour through the Twelve Days of Christmas, guided by an intergalactic superhero known as Partridge.

With help from the other characters from the carol, Partridge shows Stephen how to be kind, how to listen and how to dance, all to win back his girlfriend Chanel. Will he succeed? Or will he find something else along the way?

The premise is familiar and the plot is self-consciously twee; lights go on and music plays when the dippy Stephen realises various profundities. But this couldn’t be further from traditional holiday schmaltz. The four calling birds are sex line operators, the swans a-swimming perform ‘gay Swan Lake’ and Anne Robinson presents a familiar quiz show called 5 Gold Rings.

It's an all-singing, all-dancing comedy show. Musical Director Peter Salem ably accompanies both original material and hilarious reworkings of Beyonce, the Pussy Cat Dolls and The Beatles, and the slick choreography goes from ballet to Bollywood.

The show is very silly but it’s also rather clever – references to Star Wars, The Weakest Link and ‘Allo ‘Allo are juxtaposed with nods to Shakespeare, Dickens and David Ives.

The writers, Finnian O’Neill and Lily Bevan, are charming as the eponymous heroes, and the entire ensemble (Pandora Colin, Gemma Whelan, Lorna Beckett, Lizzie Winkler, Lucia McAnespie, Maggie Service) are absolutely terrific, each playing several outrageous characters with fantastic comic flair. Pandora Colin as the Magic Pear and Gemma Whelan as the spectacularly awful Chanel are particularly memorable.

A grown up Panto for the very young at heart, Stephen and the Sexy Partridge probably won’t inspire an epiphany about the true meaning of Christmas. However, it is festive, side-splittingly funny and wonderfully uplifting- truly in the spirit of the season.


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