The Night Before Christmas - anti-festive black comedy

London theatre news: Monday 1 October 2018

Christmas shows - New shows - Off-West End

Anthony Neilson's razor-edged comedy about finding the true spirit of Christmas is heading to Southwark Playhouse this festive season, with an all-star cast directed by Alex Sutton.
The Night Before Christmas at Southwark Playhouse

Image: Southwark Playhouse

Anthony Neilson's anarchic, anti-festive black comedy - The Night Before Christmas - will be revived for the first time by director Alex Sutton this festive season, with an all-star cast, at Southwark Playhouse from 28 November to 29 December.

This hilarious and razor-edged comedy about finding the true spirit of Christmas is more than just a merry romp; it's an un-merry extravaganza jam-packed with drugs, debauchery and dirty jokes, all rolled in glitter.

A brilliantly dark mash-up of South Park and Miracle on 34th Street by way of Scrooged, the plot focuses on Gary as he grapples with a big (or actually quite little) secret that may well save him and, more importantly, Christmas itself.

This edgy and quite ridiculous yuletide tale stars Douggie McMeekin (currently filming Chernobyl on HBO) as bitter antihero Gary, Hollyoaks' Michael Salami as festive fun sucker Simon, Unique Spencer (2017 Spotlight Prize nominee) as single mother and prostitute Cherry and Dan Starkey (Doctor Who, Inside Number 9, Sheffield Crucible's Frost/Nixon) as the dishevelled, junkie Elf - because what Christmas show would be complete without one?

Directed by former National Theatre resident director Alex Sutton, The Night Before Christmas is equal parts screwed up and joyous - as the cast stick two fingers up at sleigh bells and stockings, recognising that Christmas can actually be a bit rubbish sometimes and that it may have lost its true meaning along the way.

Mr Sutton comments ...

"Neilson's funny and offensive comedy is a surprisingly warm-hearted antidote from the frivolity and sugar that goes hand in hand with the Christmas season.

It pokes at the commercialisation of Christmas and the expectation for it to be the 'perfect' time of the year."

Show listing information


Gary's life is shit.

It's Christmas eve, he's broke, he's promised his son some top of the range Power Ranger figures but he hasn't delivered them, and now his ex wife is out to find him baying for blood.

But none of that matters any more because Gary has a secret.

A big, fat (well … small, tiny, and extremely festive) secret that might very well save him and the whole of humanity.

A mixture of South Park and Miracle on 34th Street by way of Scrooged, Anthony Neilson's hilarious and cutting comedy about finding the true spirit of Christmas comes to Southwark for the first time.

If you're a real scrooge, if you hate Christmas, or if you're just exhausted by going through the motions to please un-pleasable relatives, then this show is for you.


Douggie McMeekin - Gary

Michael Salami - Simon

Unique Spencer - Cherry

Dan Starkey - Elf


Author: Anthony Neilson
Composer: Andrew Pisano and Eamonn O'Dwyer
Director: Alex Sutton
Designer: Michael Leopold
Lighting: Vittorio Verta
Sound: Andrew Pisano and Eamonn O'Dwyer
Production: Citric Acid Productions, in association with Arden Entertainment


Southwark Playhouse - The Little
77-85 Newington Causeway


From: Wednesday 28 November 2018

Closed: Saturday 29 December 2018


Previews: £12

Standard: £20

Concessions: £16


Show website
ActDrop full listing for The Night Before Christmas

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