Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Terry Victor- “The Sort of Show The Edinburgh Fringe Was Invented For”

Wales at Edinburgh Fringe in the 2020s

Grotto- Notional Theatre , The Caves- Just the Fancy Room , September 4, 2023
Wales at Edinburgh Fringe in the 2020s by Grotto- Notional Theatre The publicity read:

“Unseasonable, unreasonable and unsuitable for brats. A legendary figure has signed in for some out-of-season rehab. Is he the real thing, or another unemployed actor in between Santa gigs?

“Created and performed by Terry Victor, a jolly fat man who has seen the grotto from the dark side; expect super-salacious Santa secrets and naff Xmas rapping zhuzhed with a bijou touch of drag. There can only be one Santa – but as more of the legend's diverse personalities show up, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas will never be the same. Seeing is believing.”

From Starburst:

“One-person tell-all celebrity shows usually feature folk who are no longer famous. Grotto, however, features a genuine superstar, Santa Claus himself.

“Comedian Terry Victor embodies the role of Santa here, and Grotto is very much a one-man show. Mr Claus takes pains to tell his audience that he’s the original Santa Claus, not Father Christmas or Papa Noel; rather, he’s the white-bearded, red-and-white uniformed creature who comes once a year. Down your chimney. And yes, every innuendo is intended.

“The set-up is pretty simple; Santa has had it rough recently and has mostly been binge-watching Drag Race and over-indulging whilst waiting for the big day to come around. We first see the legend in full Santa costume, but that slowly strips away as Santa reveals more about himself in a way that can be described more as burly-esque than burlesque.

“This is, quite simply, excellent character work. Santa isn’t exactly a likeable character here; he’s loud, spoiled, and really only interested in wine, song and a bit of fun. The show is absolutely packed with puns and innuendo throughout, as well as shaggy dog stories about the various celebrities that the seasonal legend has encountered throughout the years.

"This is a show for grown-ups who have forgotten what it’s like to sit on Santa’s knee and perhaps regret remembering.

"Grotto is quite a weird idea for a show and made stranger through its brutally funny execution. It’s interesting to watch the character slowly unravel before our eyes (both figuratively and literally), and at times, this is a little uncomfortable. But that’s the point; we often treat real celebs as if they were mythical creatures and expect them to fall apart for our entertainment, so why not treat Santa the same way?

"Harsh, funny and simply staged,Grotto feels like the sort of show the Edinburgh Fringe was invented for; something a bit unique, memorable and bizarre. But in a fun way.”

Source with thanks and acknowledgement:

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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