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The Night Before Christmas, a darkly comic alternative Christmas show - Southwark Playhouse

Douggie McMeekin stars as Gary in The Night Before Christmas. Photo credit: Martyn Andrews.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

CITRIC Acid Productions, in association with Arden Entertainment, is presenting Anthony Neilson’s The Night Before Christmas at Southwark Playhouse. An anarchic, anti-festive black comedy revived for the first time by director Alex Sutton, it runs from November 28 to December 29, 2018.

It’s Christmas Eve. Gary’s not feeling the Christmas spirit. He’s promised his son some Power Ranger figures, but he hasn’t quite found the time to deliver them, and now his ex-wife is on the attack…And that’s not even the worst of it.

Some tiny idiot has broken into his warehouse, and Gary is pretty sure this isn’t just a festive coincidence; but with no-one else but his grouchy pal Simon to help him decide what to do, could Christmas be cancelled forever?

More than just a merry romp, The Night Before Christmas is described as an hilarious and razor-edged comedy about finding the true spirit of Christmas; 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, Gary’s story unfolds as he grapples with a big (or actually quite little) secret that may well save him and, more importantly, Christmas itself.

The cast includes 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.

Former National Theatre resident director, Alex Sutton said: “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.”

Image: Douggie McMeekin as Gary in The Night Before Christmas. Photo credit: Martyn Andrews.

Tickets: £20, £16 concessions. All previews £12. To book, visit

Times: 8pm, with matinees at 3:30pm.

Running Time: 90 minutes.