The fallen diva makes quite an entrance, stumbling through the aisles burdened with a heavy gold lamé womb, desperately seeking a venue and finding no room at the inn.
Her parodic stab at the nativity achieves supreme silliness: no messiah pops out, just inflatable animals to crowd around a Pret A Manger sign.
It is worth the price of admission just to hear her sing.
Everything goes wrong, but the show must go on. When her illustrious special guests all cancel, Meow Meow grabs some pesky orphans carolling outside (Annie Jones, Dusty Bursill, Charlotte Barnard, Riya Mandrawa) to fill in, only to have them upstage her.
Yuletide cliches lurk offstage: flurries of fake snow, a nightmare visitation from Santa Claus, the sound of children. In the spotlight, Meow Meow’s seat-of-the-pants shtick devolves, as disaster continues to strike, into pill-popping hedonism and an encounter with a doppelganger (Michaela Burger) that works in a Scrooge-like revelation.
Finally, a poignant reveal dismantles artifice, reminds us of the reverent joy in traditional Christmas carols, and touches the soul with a rendition of Patty Griffin’s Kite Song, sung with a fragile optimism that lingers in the air as you depart.
You might wish there were more songs, though, and less shtick. The comedy eventually scrabbles its way towards the sublime but can sometimes feel like filler, while Meow Meow’s dark and honeyed voice has always possessed a commanding quality capable of instantly bewitching an auditorium. As chanteuse, she performs in at least four languages, backed (and sometimes comically rivalled) by a versatile three-piece band. It is worth the price of admission just to hear her sing.