REVIEW: THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (Gary’s Warehouse – The Bottle Shop) ★★★★★

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It is the Night Before Christmas, when none but Santa’s elves are out and about. Oh yes, and Gary who’s working late. Well anyway, Gary happens upon an elf doing his yearly rounds, as one does if one is so foolish as not to be tucked up in bed at such a magic time.

Thinking that a green-clad man in curly toed shoes and a pixie hat, that he finds wandering around his warehouse, might be up to no good he decides to nab him and secure him until he can get some help and advice from his friend, Simon.

When he turns up, Simon is sceptical – but if this is a burglar, then why is he dressed so strangely?

Then, hard bitten tart, Cherry, who Gary has at times “turned to” (note the inverted commas), turns up, determined to obtain a toy light sabre for her son.

At this point they decide to question the little fellow. Amazingly he has the most prosaic answers to all their questions. True, his description of Pixie Dust does sound a little dodgy, but that aside his replies are convincing.

The show stars the amazing and funny Glenn Hanning, who I personally believe must be a real Elf. How else could he possibly know so much elf law? Apart from his height he even looks elvish.

Michelle Luther as Cherry the gorgeous, hard bitten, somewhat less than virginal leading lady is a wonderful actress and beautifully segues from harridan to almost a romantic.

James Kermack as Simon the sceptic, hairy, cross dressing, scary one even he finds something good in the situation when he feels that he is able to come out as a cross dresser to his friend Gary. Excellently portrayed.

Finally, Tim O’Hara plays Gary, the warehouse owner, believer and general good guy. From beginning to end, Tim shows Gary as a somewhat sad but nice guy. His unrepeatable aside to Cherry at the end, had the audience in stitches. A talented actor.

The theatre is above The Bottle Shop which itself is located in a railway arch in the wilds of Bermondsey. It is a comfortable and intimate venue. Special mention to the fine direction of Sarah Henley and to the Bottle Shop’s incredible selection of beers. Both did their part in making it a wonderful evening.

This is a must see if you can get a ticket and in a great venue.

Reviewed by Graham Archer

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS plays at Gary’s Warehouse – The Bottle Shop 8th, 10th, 14th, 16th, 17th, 19th, 20th, 21st & 22nd December