10 December 2021 – Sam Bennett

Rudi Douglas sits at the piano, captivating London’s The Glory audience with a gorgeous rendition of ‘Silent Night’, as the towering vision that is Séayoncé watches unimpressed to the side of the stage. Before Douglas has got to the end of the song, the drag queen crosses the stage, leans over and lands her arm on his keys, forcing him to stop playing. “Bah cumbag!” she growls, soon requesting the crowd join her in the phrase.

What follows is an hour or so of splendid smut and silliness. The story of Santa divorcing Séayoncé works well as the framework but it’s not the most engaging part of the show – nor does it pretend to be. What grips you from start to finish is the rapport between the queen and her pianist, for which the latter deserves as much credit as the former; the filthily rewritten Christmas carols, the funniest for me being ‘The Little Drummer Boy’, the ridiculousness of which causes even Séayoncé to chuckle at points; and Séayoncé herself whose improv and presence are as captivating as Douglas’ ‘Silent Night’.

There is also a pleasing unpolished quality to the show – when a technical hitch is accompanied by the tongue of a comedy queen, you find yourself grateful for something going a little wrong. “We’ve never done this, so it’s not going to go well,” says Séayoncé as a prefix to one segment, fuelling the already relaxed and informal atmosphere at The Glory.

Quick, unapologetic, hilarious – and at stages an impressive piece of performance art – Séayoncé: Bah Cumbag! twisted me into the festive (or “fistive”) spirit, whether she likes it or not.

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