Acclaimed comedian Nick Mohammed returns with his character, Mr Swallow, as the protagonist for another outrageous show. This time, with a take on a Dickens’ classic, filled with festive flavour. A Christmas Carol-ish, emphasis in the ISH, is jampacked with seasonal silliness.

Poptastic Christmas classics welcomed us to the theatre and the stage was set with two huge glittery candy canes that framed a pink glittery curtain. It was clear from the get-go that we were in store for a whole lot of Christmas cheer and, although expense had been spared, it set the scene perfectly for this silly, fun and uplifting show.

For those who don’t know, Mr Swallow is a popular and hugely irritating character that has been played by the hilarious Nick Mohammed for over a decade, portrayed across both stage and television. Even if you’ve never seen it before, you’ll soon grasp his rather tedious temperament.

Costarring was David Elms as the slightly more serious, witty Mr Goldsworth and the incredibly talented Kieran Hodgson as Jonathan. Between them, they covered numerous Christmas roles including elf, Rudolf, ghost and wise men. Joining them on stage was Sarah Hadland, best known for Stevie in BBC’s Miranda, who played cruise ship singer and wannabe star, Rochelle Kelly.

The four characters, led by Mr Swallow set out to perform the story we all know and love but confessed at the start that they hadn’t been granted the rights. Thus, despite Mr Swallow’s timely entrance as scrooge, he was forced to merge the character into a downbeat and dejected Santa who would be at the centre of the Christmas chaos which was about to unfold.

Mr Swallow / Scrooge / Santa was visited by three ghosts who would change his pessimistic perspective. However; instead of visiting Santa’s past, we were taken back to the process of the play being written. The Ghosts of Christmas’ Present and Future were as equally mind-boggling - and somewhere in the show was a scene from the Nativity. It’s difficult to put my finger on the exact plot because the story was so random, but it was in a style befitting to Christmas excentricity and went down a treat.

Mr Swallow and co openly acknowledged the audience and made no attempts to disguise that this was anything other than a demonstration of festiveness. The ensemble even remarked on the low budget for the performance, which became a running joke that had the audience laughing out loud.

Highlights for me were Sarah Hadland’s turkey song which was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen on stage and legitimately shocked me, the Derren Brown-esk addition during the audience participation segment, and the whole concept of a Santa that can’t be arsed. I think the team had decided during rehearsals, that the madder the better and the quartet certainly did not hold back.

Nick Mohammed’s A Christmas Carol-ish had all the punch and pizzazz of a festive pantomime but with a pinch more pandemonium. More similar to the muppets than a Christmas Carol, but a jolly good time if you’re looking for a festive treat.

Photo credit: Matt Crocket