Christmas Actually
Rating: 3.5/5
Venue: Royal Festival Hall, London
Cast: Sanjeev Bhaskar, Jayde Adams, Miriam Teak-Lee and Flo & Joan

Christmas is all around you at the ultimate festive variety show, curated by Love Actually creator Richard Curtis, with hosts Sanjeev Bhaskar and Jayde Adams.

A feast for all the senses, this witty and enchanting evening captures all the fun and laughter of Christmas through a treasure trove of entertainment, as a starry line-up, including Flo & Joan and Miriam-Teak Lee, performs live music, Christmas stories, poetry and comedy.

You know when you least expect it, love actually is…..wait bugger let’s try this again shall we? You know when you least expect it, Christmas Actually is all around.

On until the 11th of December, this is a quirky fun night out. It’s pretty much what you can expect from a variety show. Jayde Adams and Sanjeev Bhaskar hosted the evening and they truly bounced off each other’s energy and comedic timing. The show opened with Miriam- Teak Lee singing various holiday tunes, and then the variety of fun began. The pacing of the show was steady and didn’t feel as though it was dragging. Some of the highlights that came out of the first half was the acted out rendition of 12 Days of Christmas. Different and humorous. AI reads The Nativity Story was something I did not expect. This is our future; artificial intelligence. It was as funny as Google translate goes wrong. 

Something I learned was how Band Aid formed and how Live Aid came about. Not only was the show funny and musical, but it was also informative and eye-opening. Jayde and Sanjeev engaged the audience in a vote of who was going to wear a turkey costume and recite a poem by the late Benjamin Zephaniah. The loser had to wear another costume in the second half. The only downside was the not so funny section of Flo & Joan. They were good but I felt it lacked in the mood of the night. Act one closed with everyone singing the classic "Christmas Is All Around" with footage of Love Actually playing on the screen.

The second half was the most entertaining. The highlight being kids’ letters to Santa. Some letters were very practical, whilst others were typical kids’ letters to the jolly fellow who lives in the North Pole. Miriam-Teak Lee being accompanied by the Battersea Power Station Community Choir was beautiful. 

What I did not expect was a ghost story at a Christmas show. As someone who is into the spooky season, I thoroughly enjoyed the scary story bit of the show. Brilliantly executed. Another thing I didn’t expect was a ‘snowball’ fight. There was a prize at the end of that ‘snowball’ fight which was a nice touch to the evening. Remember how I mentioned the turkey costume vote? Well, the loser wore the lobster costume from Love Actually. “There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?Duh. But what is Christmas without A Christmas Carol? How about A Christmas Carol in 5 minutes That was silly, yet extremely entertaining! Shout out to Sanjeev playing every other character. 

Now we cannot forget that this is in support of Comic Relief. They were many mentions throughout the show of how to partake if you felt inclined too. I felt it was too much but it is a variety show, with proceeds to help those in need this holiday season.

And no, I did not count how many times anyone said “actually” within the 2.5 hour period. All in all, it is a fun, quirky night out with family, friends or loved ones. One take away for me was you realise that Christmas is not just about the presents; it’s about being in the now with the people you love and being grateful for what you have.

Christmas Actually is on at the Royal Festival Hall until Monday 11th December 2023.

Happy Holidays x

You can book tickets to see Christmas Actually at Royal Festival Hall, here.

Written by Dani Minutola

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