‘The Christmas Party: A Festive Freshers Sketch Show’, brought to us by Fitz Theatre (Online), is a series of short, quirky Christmas sketches introducing new, promising comedians to the Cambridge scene. This radio show, directed by Maria Pointer and written by freshers Bill Dallas Lea, Jemima Langdon, Alex Tyler, Emily Macpherson Smith and Hayley Canham (with Hoskisson as head writer), light-heartedly reconfigures the Christmas tropes.
The pandemic loomed large over the sketches, and allusions to the ‘unprecedented’ situation were never far from the comedy. Thankfully, it all managed to avoid being heavy or cynical. Everything was carried by the impressive, assured voice-acting, which perfectly embraces the festive mood.
Some of the sketches were hilarious. A personal favourite was the ‘Secret Santa’ sketch, which uproariously depicted a ‘Secret Santa’ gone wrong in the context of a workspace. Lagndon’s ‘Wise Men’, performed by all, also made me laugh, presenting the Magi getting presents for Jesus (one of them coughs and responds that it isn’t ‘dry or persistent’, which truly killed me). I’m also still smiling at the sketch in which the Queen explained her very difficult lockdown experience alongside Philip, and Luke Hoskisson’s bold ‘Green Santa’ sketch, in which Santa was faced with a letter from Greta Thunberg. There was also the unsettling ‘Sexy Santa Claus’ written by Canham and performed by the writer with Dallas Lea, in which Santa, having gotten in shape during lockdown, was invited to stay over for some… ‘cookies and milk’. These sketches sometimes flirted with the absurd, with one involving Mary giving birth to Rudolph (yes, as in the red-nosed reindeer), Santa doing the boogie, and Rudolph leaving to become a star in Hollywood…a strange, yet oddly amusing sketch.
Whether you are fully immersed in the Christmas spirit or struggling to get into it, ‘The Christmas Party’, still streaming on the Fitz Theatre’s YouTube channel, is the merry show you need – perfect for sitting back listening to with a festive spicy tea or some mulled wine. All in all, these sketches were enjoyable, some absolutely spit-out-your-drink funny. They presented promising comedians that we look forward to seeing again on the Cambridge comedy scene.