Kaja Brown enjoys The First XXXmas – A very naughty-tivity, the third in the Wales Millennium Centre’s XXXmas trilogy.
My first impression of The First XXXmas – A very naughty-tivity, was the erotic drawing pages waiting on the table for me. If I hadn’t gone to last year’s show I would have been more surprised, but instead this is the kind of fun that I have come to expect of director Duncan Hallis and his team.
The room is set up in a classic cabaret style with seats with little tables surrounding the long stage so that all angles are covered. LSD clouds and other lights adorn the walls as well as huge projectors. The atmosphere compliments the performer’s stunning outfits and talent. Polly Amorous was joined by Jenna Dyckhoff, Rahim El Habachi, FooFoo LaBelle, Eric McGill and Bunmi Odumosu. All of the performers are entrancing, with acts including acrobatics, fire eating and belly dancing. The whole night is a feast for the eyes and you certainly won’t go hungry.
Where those Christmas shows excel is in their interweaving of political satire with outrageously hot fun
I enjoyed many elements of this re-imagining of the nativity, such as the biblically accurate angels and the show being set in Wales, with Mary travelling to Newport rather than Bethlehem. The Welsh themes continued in the show with an interactive Welsh language segment and song which the audience thoroughly enjoyed. I had never seen King Kong in a nativity before, nor a “donkey” doing jaw dropping trapeze mid-air.
Where those Christmas shows excel is in their interweaving of political satire with outrageously hot fun, but the more serious moments were just as visually striking, as well as hard-hitting. We see a politician suspiciously similar to Rishi Sunak taking a blood bath, and are reminded through the show that ‘Jesus was a refugee’. Immigration, corrupted politics, climate change and consumerism are referenced several times and are essential to the narrative.
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Out of the trilogy directed by Duncan Hallis, last year’s The Lion, The B!tch and the Wardrobe remains my favourite, but this is still an enjoyable watch. The night ends with a reflection over how we cannot rely on a single biblical saviour to fix all that is wrong with the world, but instead need to all come together to create change. There are beautiful, sad and poignant clips voicing messages of hope and concern over our current society and the future, before Polly and the angels point out how all our different talents can be used to improve the world – including drag! This is a good reminder that drag is inherently political as it has been used for decades as a radical act to further the social justice movement. And that is what this performance does too.
Do check out the content warnings on the website before attending as there are some moments that audience members may find upsetting. But overall this is a beautiful, unforgettable night. It is meant to be the final instalment in the three years of cabaret Christmas shows directed by Duncan Hallis, and I can’t wait to see what feat of creativity might come next. Grab your ticket and enjoy it while you can.
The First XXXmas – A very naughty-tivity is at the Wales Millennium Centre until 31 December 2023.