Review: Douglas Walker Presents: Of Christmas Past at Underbelly Bristo Square

A Christmas-themed show in the middle of August may sound unappealing, however Douglas Walker’s festive comedy is a dark, fantastical tale that’s far from the pantomimes one expects to see in December.

The story is based on the real-life relationship between Coca-Cola and Santa Claus, except the story pushes it from a mere marketing campaign into a sinister plot that has existed for over a century. Walker performs a plethora of characters in this solo show, and some of recent history’s greatest characters all play an important role in this unorthodox tale, from Grigori Rasputin to Elvis Presley. Walker is able to assume an array of accents and roles impeccably, providing each character with a distinct individuality. However, the premise, albeit an interesting one, is never developed further into the entertaining comedy show it could have been.

Unfortunately, the majority of the story is told in such a serious tone that it’s easy to forget it’s billed under comedy. In fact, for the most part, the audience sat in stony-faced silence except for the occasional gag that would garner maybe a couple of smiles and a few bouts of laughter from the more polite audience members.

At one point, Walker told a member of the audience to stop whatever he was doing as it was distracting. I don’t believe it was part of the show and seemed to further detract from the atmosphere that was already lacking.

Douglas Walker has provided a show that is original in concept, if a little self-indulgent at points, and manages to perform it with high energy throughout, but the show fails to provide the levity it needs.

Douglas Walker Presents: Of Christmas Past, Underbelly Bristo Square, until 26 Aug, 10.50pm

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