Home » London Theatre Reviews » Munson & Bond’s Winter Wonderland at Mirth, Marvel and Maud | Review

Munson & Bond’s Winter Wonderland at Mirth, Marvel and Maud | Review

Munson & Bond’s  WINTER WONDERLANDI wonder if there is a place for the likes of Timothy Bond. It’s not that he doesn’t like Christmas, but that it’s rolled around again too soon, and time spent away from his family means he isn’t going to enjoy it anyway, so he may as well not bother this year. Could Christmas be like the Glastonbury Festival? Imagine that every few years, it just doesn’t happen: like the local population of Pilton in Somerset, the Glastonbury organisers and the Worthy Farm land being given a break from it all, perhaps Santa’s elves could have a rest, reindeer stay at home on Christmas night, and turkeys live on.

For Tim, however, his thoughts don’t even stretch as far as considering the possible positive wider implications of periodically Brexiting from Christmas. He’s just lost his Christmas mojo (aah), so up steps his good friend Nigel Munson to try to restore it. Naturally, this takes some time – ninety minutes plus interval, apparently, though with it being a Saturday and the Night Tube in operation, I wasn’t counting. There is, therefore, a narrative of sorts that runs throughout, in a show that would otherwise have been a disjointed set of scenes and sketches with Christmas as an overarching theme.

In finding links, however tenuous they may technically have been sometimes, between points in the story and a song, the tunes feel fresher than they would have in a concert format, introduced in the context of the story. This production is silly with a capital S, and it knows it: it took a few attempts at asking someone in the audience where they were going to be for the big day and how they were going to get there (planes and trains seemed popular) before someone was, after all, ‘driving home for Christmas’.

Fortunately, or indeed unfortunately, Munson & Bond’s Winter Wonderland has a jukebox musical feel to it, not only because there were so many songs in the show, but also because most of the words to most of the songs featured were familiar. It ticks all the boxes one would want from a festive special, from the irreverence in a nativity story that becomes increasingly bizarre as it goes on to the inclusion of a wholesome selection of traditional religious carols. That was not the only bit of audience participation, and a back-row vantage point did not, alas, mean yours truly was exempted by way of geographical inconvenience. Let’s just say Munson & Bond had the stage to themselves throughout, and song sheets were provided for the rest of us.

I can’t think of anything seasonal that wasn’t included in the show, however briefly. We had Christmas cracker jokes. “What do snowman eat for breakfast? Snowflakes.” We had ‘Fairytale of New York’, complete with a convincing impersonation of Shane McGowan’s diction and mannerisms.

‘Home Alone’ and ‘Tiny Tim’ were name-dropped. We even had, the venue being in Walthamstow, a rendering of the East 17 tune ‘Stay Another Day’. Oh, and a tune I hadn’t heard in decades, ‘All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)’.

Never mind those television Christmas specials that have little, if anything, to do with Christmas – everything here has some connection with 25th December. It was so festive I was even given a Christmas card. A slick and lively evening.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

Nigel has a problem. He loves Christmas, and he thought his musical comedy partner Tim did as well. It turns out Tim wants to give it a miss this year, and so now Nigel only has 90 minutes (plus interval) to prove just how wonderful the most wonderful time of the year is, otherwise the show’s over and he’ll have to send the pressies back to Uncle Amazon…

Listings Information
Mirth, Marvel & Maud,
186 Hoe Street
London E17 4QH


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