Well top the tree with talent – BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon are in town! Yes, it’s that time of year once again when we gather round a nice warm bucket of mulled wine to celebrate the festive season with a traditional Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show. And just when you thought they couldn’t get any more fabulous or funny they effortlessly elevate it with the most gloriously ridiculous, polished and perfect production you could hope to see, and at the London Palladium no less.
Jinkx and DeLa decide they’re out of ideas this year and won’t bother doing a show. Instead they pack their leopard print suitcases and head off to a hotel. Or do they? It soon becomes clear that the show herself has other ideas, and loops our heroines into a weird White Christmas/bizarre horror movie crossover as she becomes increasingly self-aware and manipulative, with hilarious results.
Produced and Directed by DeLa herself, this magnificent production is all kinds of wonderful and flawlessly executed; from the gloriously gay and glittery gowns, to the interstitial videos (never thought I’d use that phrase in a review…) that smooth scene changes, to amazing upbeat music, including a weirdly creepy sexy Krampus song – in German!
From the off, DeLa and Jinkx storm the enormous Palladium stage with hilarity and synchronised stupidity. Their timing is meticulous – almost telepathic in its precision: might they be witches?? Summoning Santa to the tune of an Iron Butterfly number suggests this might well be the case… Their superb physicality is comically Vaudevillian, generating the delightfully overdrawn characters we know and love, whilst their songs are hugely funny, with nods to George Michael and Kylie that had me choking with laughter. Jinkx’s magnificent Broadway belting is just off the scale awesome – she is a literally jaw-dropping talent! The pair are supported by a cast of dynamic and versatile dancers (Mr. Babygirl, Ruby Mimosa, Scott Spraags, Jim Kent, Chloe Albin, Jace Gonzalez) that have no shame; happy to prance round as choreographed candy canes to keep the Christmas spirit of silliness alive.
The design work is fabulous, catering for around a dozen dazzling costume changes, each more spectacular than the last (Dallas Coulter, Mr. Gorgeous, Paris Original), dancing reindeer and a performing inflatable polar bear, lifted straight out of your box of Christmas decs. Mike Faba’s glorious lighting design is big, bold and beautiful, especially the wonderful blacklight effects for the surreal snowman section, and it skilfully supports our larger-than-life superstars in their story, without ever upstaging them.
What is really special about the Holiday Show is that the whole production speaks so beautifully and articulately to the gay family experience of reinvention and evolution. The plotline steps in and out of realities in an exploration of adaptive truth and transforming traditions to fit a changing world. It’s clever, engaging and really heartwarming, especially as we share a rousing chorus of “Everyone is traumatised by Christmas”.
Come the end of the show love for DeLa and Jinkx fills the room and we’re all aching with laughing, warmed by their joyous friendship, mutual support and humour. And there’s a sudden, surprisingly profound moment as Jinkx reminds us that the world doesn’t have to be filled with the hatred and evil that’s happening outside. Instead we can embrace silly and glittery and lovely, and just for a couple of hours be in a space where we can all be happy together, whoever we are. Even if that space is bonkers. Now that’s a Christmas gift devoutly to be wished.
Lighting Design by: Mike Faba
Scenic Elements Designed by: David L. Arsenault
Costumes by: Dallas Coulter, Mr. Gorgeous, Paris Original
The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show has one more date at the London Palladium on Thursday 16 December. Book here.