A Kick in the Baubles – Lichfield Garrick Studio – Review

A Kick in the Baubles – Lichfield Studio Theatre

Lichfield Players

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Its mid-October – is it too early for Christmas? Based on the audience’s reaction at a Kick in the Baubles last night then definitely not!

Performed by the experienced local group the Lichfield Players, a Kick in the Baubles tells the story of a household where the Christmas spirt is definitely lacking. Husband Frank hates Christmas: he hates the Christmas Eve shopping queues at 5 in the morning, he hates brussel sprouts, he hates carol singers and he hates the bags of mixed nuts – he just hates Christmas. Not just that – he seems to hate life itself. He’s lost his job, he’s had to sell his car, his daughter has left home in a strop, he’s got no money and he’s got to have a holiday in a caravan – life just stinks!

He bickers constantly with his long-suffering wife Jean who loves Christmas but has a ‘fight against the tide’ battle with her Scrooge of a husband who deflates her Christmas balloons with every put down. As Christmas Day dawns they look forward to the arrival of the relatives – Jean’s snobbish, superior sister Doreen who’s ‘richer than you’ and her salesman hubby Harry who values everything by the number of 0000s at the end of every £ sign.

While the turkey simmers away tensions start to rise, Doreen starts to make her way through the gin bottle, and things don’t get any better with the arrival of next door neighbours from hell Gary, who has more tattoos than David Beckham, and the pneumatic Julie who catches the wandering eye of salesman Harry. Gary wants a karaoke Christmas and Frank’s day descends further into a Christmas hell.

But a final knock on their Christmas door may bring some unexpected cheer – is Frank and Jean’s day about to get better – and will Frank The Grinch turn into Frank the Christmas Fairy?

The play is a stocking-full of festive laughs and snappy one liners all performed with perfect timing by the experienced ensemble. Chris Stanley as Frank is perfect as the world-weary, frustrated, cynical Christmas (and life itself) hating husband and Sarah Stanley gives as good as she gets as the put-upon wife Jean, battling gamely to keep the household (and Christmas) together.
The supporting cast are all excellent especially Annie Blackwell as ‘nice-but-dim’ niece Alex who mangles her words delightfully and Paul McEvoy as unwanted neighbour Gary who loves to party and fancies himself as Freddie Mercury. Ably directed by Maureen George with a real feel for those that hate the happiest day of the year, she definitely brings out the best in the players who all clearly revel in the festive banter and bickering.

There are some great visual laughs as well, especially a long running gag about Frosty the Snowman which is both funny and clever and there is a musical background of festive songs and hits from Gary’s favourite group Queen – and look out for I Want to Break Free!

At the end of Christmas Day I always enjoy doing battle away with a bag of mixed nuts, it’s really hard to crack open the walnut with its rock hard case but when you do there is a soft, sweet, warming, tasty kernel centre. A Kick in the Baubles is just like a walnut – it’s got a hard exterior but, if you wait till the end, you’ll find the true spirit of Christmas lurking underneath.

I’d definitely recommend that you start Christmas early this year and go and see A Kick in the Baubles – it’s a right little Christmas cracker!

Limited tickets are still available – so book now:
Visit Lichfield Garrick box office on Castle Dyke, ring 01543 412121 or visit the website: www.lichfieldgarrick.com/whats-on/all-shows/kick-in-the-baubles/54