‘Tis the season to be jolly cynical and brutally honest. David Hoyle’ s new show, in which he teams up with Richard Thomas, writer and composer of the Olivier award winning, Jerry Springer: The Opera, was transfixing from the very second Hoyle took to the stage.
Despite the avant-garde cabaret star being festooned in seasonal red apparel, with a bauble trim, and there being a Christmas tree onstage, albeit strewn in condoms and skulls, this is not your archetypal thigh slapping Christmas show. Hoyle performs a selection of original songs, and even a contemporary dance, whilst scanning the audience for vibes, like Psychic Sally but with better slap, as Thomas accompanies, expertly, on the piano.
Their pairing is just right and there is little, if any, fault to be picked as the show flows with ease and the audience is kept mesmerised by Hoyles’ magnetic and charming performance. The tone of the show centres somewhat around modern societies obsession with the banal attributes of contemporary culture as well as the dilution of what is considered ‘important’; Hoyle conveys his disdain of these subjects with evocative and slick language partnered with camp intonations, whilst flirting outrageously with the collective.
The pair touch on everything from gays in the militarily through to love, death and religion and the content is exceptionally clever and thought provoking, without being self indulgent. If you don’t appreciate deep irony and sarcasm then you probably won’t get the show , but if you do then you simply cannot miss it. The show is easy enough to follow and understand and Hoyle’s relationship with Thomas is authenticated throughout.
The only thing , for me, is that it’s just not long enough, which is high praise indeed because at the best of times I have the attention span of a goldfish . I could have easily watched another hour or even two of these magnificent performers and I’m confident they could have delivered it too. It’s definitely more quality over quantity
Merrie Hell is brilliantly sculpted and a refreshing satirical breeze of intellectually stimulating art, juxtaposing the tidal wave of consummate daintiness that saturates the festive season.