How to Catch a Krampus at the Pleasance Theatre
This year, LGBTQ+ collective Sink the Pink bring us the debauched, not-so-family-friendly pantomime How to Catch a Krampus. The gothic-horror theatrical comedy is both written and directed by drag virtuoso Ginger Johnson and features an array of accomplished performers, as well as some fantastic musical numbers.
Firmly rooted in the dark depths of old Victorian London, the tale essentially weaves its way around a young, impoverished girl who has lost her five-year-old brother and who turns to self-proclaimed medium and spirit guide Ginger Johnson to help her find and return him. The Krampus is described as a mythical beast, half-man and half-goat, but it soon becomes a clear euphemism for Johnson’s own demons. As the search for the boy begins and the medium’s uneasy journey of self-discovery unfolds, her story begins to mirror the disappearance of the child they are looking for.
Johnson adds her own slapstick humour to this poignant tale as she plays her part with the gusto of a true pantomime dame, involving the audience where she can and adding some very funny quips to lighten the mood. Her eccentric supporting cast bulk out the story with outlandish Morris dancing, operatic numbers and a wildly sensuous cabaret number from infamous drag veteran Lavinia Coop.
Musical direction from Sarah Bodalbhai ensures that a trio of pianist, flautist and violinist bring spine-tingling renditions of tracks like Thriller to life, and set design involving taxidermy, costumes of black taffeta with vintage lace and creepy doll puppets all add to the vaudeville flair of this production.
However, do not think for one second that this is a show for the faint-hearted; there are plenty of unsettling scenes which litter the narrative. The discovery of Johnson’s own dark past is utterly disturbing and brings us to the bloody end of the tale, where we are then treated to a bizarre synopsis of the show through the well-loved carol The Twelve Days of Christmas.
How to Catch a Krampus is unforgettable to the core, but definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. The outstanding effort from this cast really push the boundaries of this genre and do well to remind us that not everyone has the picture-perfect Christmas we so often think of.
Photo: Ali Wright
How to Catch a Krampus is at the Pleasance Theatre from 13th November until 23rd December 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.