West Linton Primary School Christmas Concert

No sooner have I settled into my tiny seat than a giant shakey silvery cardboard cut-out alien craft drifts across the stage before my very eyes. It crash lands! Well, it kind of stops a third of the way across the stage to a crew of confused and trying to look concerned creatures.

Then one-by-one, a series of ‘aliens’ with bobbles on their heads take turns to come from behind this artistic metallic masterpiece and approach the microphone to question how to get their ship going again. One of said alien beings has giant green inflatable hands and blow-up headpiece with three eyes protruding from the top. This and the spaceship are clearly where the huge budget was blown.

Of course they can’t get the ship going again and so have to go wander out into the world.

This all leads to a script I can barely understand or follow, a limp, seemingly dead donkey being hauled in a circular fashion around the stage (which was perhaps roadkill from the crashed alien craft) to an inaudible song about something seasonal, all interspersed with what I can only assume were messages of love and understanding and hands across the galaxy between people from the Middle East and the far reaches of the universe at this most wonderful time of the year.

What a lovely Christmassy message indeed. Well, it probably would’ve been had I been able to hear it.

This opening scene went on painfully long, but we were treated to some (very little) fine singing and drumming later on in the concert, which was way shorter and thankfully went faster than the opening scene, all topped off by Silent Night sang in English, German and French.

This was no doubt put together as a protest against the Brexiteers. I’m not sure politics and nativity plays should go together, but it was a nice touch in a sea of turgid and ridiculously bad performances.

The highlight of the whole thing of course, being one of my most famous numbers as a Johnny Mathis impersonator being sang, “When A Child Is Born”. Not quite as good as my beautiful dulcetly-toned rendition of course, but sang beautifully by a number of people including Jennifer Scott, daughter of Jeannie Jones. Jeannie, of course being who was totally responsible for me having to endure this whole ear-piecing, eye-watering debacle.

I really have no real clue what the story in the play was meant to be about – since it was inaudible and dreadful – the headmistress decided to compere and patronisingly lecture us all at the start and from beside a live microphone rather than into it, the mince pies were discusting (as always) and the organisers didn’t even have the good grace to throw copious amounts of alcohol into the non-alcoholic mulled wine on sale to numb the inevitable pain.

This all made for some truly torturous Christmas-time children’s entertainment. It hurt so much that I had flashbacks to the open mic night at the Purple Turtle in Islington, a soul-destroying charity golf day gig to Ramsgate football club and Christmas shows at Jongleurs.

Disjointed acting, scruffy choreography, plenty of out-of-tune singing and catering that will probably see me spending the festive season in the hospital.

Brilliant!

5 stars

Nik Coppin

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