Cozy atmosphere and Christmas carols - so far, Uncomfortable Christmas by Halifax-based Kick at the Dark Theatre Company feels pretty comfortable. The room is filled with comfy sweaters, candy canes and hot chocolate that is given away for free. It feels like you are sitting with your friends near the fireplace and are about to hear some stories.
These stories are not too fancy, instead, they are quite sarcastic and even bitter at times. What’s most important – these stories are authentic, with each of them evoking a strong emotion. They make you laugh about human vices, such as envy and greed, and make you see [or: show] how Christmas sometimes brings the best and the worst in us.
The show opens with a song “Christmas is interesting, like a knife in your heart.. Christmas is interesting, how it tears you apart” – a song that everyone in the audience could relate to, in some way. There is also story about a girl who feels like her Christmas is ruined because she is not the only child in the family anymore. A story about a pompous sitcom-writer and story-gatherer who is totally looking down on people coming from a different social background and using their life stories to earn money. She is quite devilish, this lady, and is capable of insulting people without saying a single swear word (which is quite a talent, I believe).
Successfully alternating songs with monologues, funny and bitter moments, the show keeps you engaged and curious: What’s coming up next? A cheerful song about acid and hot springs is followed by a story about rich families competing with each other: First, in wealth and later – in generosity. The families start out donating a couple dollars and end up giving up their their kids and their organs. Pretty absurd, isn’t it? The storyteller is transformed from a rich married man into a homeless [well, not quite homeless – he lives in a cardboard box] widowed guy without a penny, all for the sake of proving how generous he is..
The show ends on a warm note with a song “I really like Christmas” reminding the audience about true values and the importance of family. It evokes the Christmas spirit while making you think. And with that perfect combination of humour and thoughtfulness, you are now ready to dive into the holidays no matter how uncomfortable it gets.
Review by Katerina Sushko