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#69 Duckie Copyright Christmas

January 3, 2012

Would you trust this lot with your Christmas? Exactly.

Yeah, should probably have written up this chestnut before Christmas, but what are you gonna do? This was experimental theatre troupe Duckie’s takedown of Christmas commercialism, in the form of a ‘promenade’ experience. Using the immense backstage space at the Barbican, groups of fifteen or so were hustled through a maze of different setups patched together with wrapping paper, sellotape and chutzpah. Each mini-event was a surreal pastiche of the selling side of Christmas: pushy salesmen revealing hidden machinations, a rebellious promotional elf, a sugar-dealing fortune-teller, an odious cross-dressing shopping channel host, and so on. Thanks to Duckie’s trademark sideways surrealism, the harried groups were never sure what they were about to see (or get roped into) next, which was entirely fitting for a show about the misery of seasonal shopping.

The show was fun and energetic, with a great last-scene reveal that used the immense space to maximum effect – but it was no Lullaby, in scope or execution.We’re not sure ‘Hey, Christmas is all about commerce these days’ is a deep enough message for this level of immersive action. Was their really much point in preaching to the choir like this? Ah, well – even if not, it was still a whole superstore’s worth of unsettling festive theatre.

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