Yo-ho-ho, a Crazy Christmas life for me!

Crazy Christmas Cabaret gets the Jack Sparrow treatment in One-Eyed Willy-The Quest for the Big Chest

Humans love the familiar. It’s something primal, hardwired into our conscience: that ability to enjoy something no matter how many times we do it, see it, smell it, feel it or hear it. When we attend a concert we don’t want to hear the new stuff, we want to hear the oldies, the hits.

As festive as red cabbage
For thousands of Danes, Vivienne McKee’s annual Crazy Christmas Cabaret has become so familiar it is as synonymous with the festive season as pickled red cabbage.

Following a break from last year’s show, McKee returned to a thunderous reception in 'One-Eyed Willy and The Quest for the Big Chest' as she invited the audience along on a journey across the seven seas with her gang of swash-buckling pirates.

Her year-off appeared to have instilled the performance with a new-found vigour and youthful energy. Perhaps McKee had found the fabled Fountain of Youth during her travels.

A wave of obstacles
David Bateson plays the eponymous ‘hero’ who more than anything desires to be a famed and feared pirate. To do so he must locate the biggest chest in the Caribbean, but this will prove no easy feat as he must contend with a wave of obstacles including rival pirates, a sinking ship, the British navy and an all-female cannibalistic tribe.

The rest of the plot is not hugely important. As with all Crazy Christmas Cabarets, it merely serves as a themed backdrop for the gags, double entendre and musical acts we have come to expect, which are delivered in timely fashion, often with ensuing hilarity.

Doctor's back in the house
The much-anticipated return of Danglish-speaking scientist, Dr Van Helsingør from Elsinore, was a real crowd-pleaser. So too were references made to events that have taken place over the past year, which included an appearance by Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst and jokes about Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s clothes scandal.

Pirates of the Caribbean is an obvious source of inspiration, but so too are Maersk, Lord Nelson, the Titanic and Treasure Island (jokingly referred to as Booty Island, it is the Crazy Christmas Cabaret after all) to name a few.

Ain't nothing like the Dame
Regular cast-member ‘Dame’ Andrew Jeffers once again steals the show as the unsinkable Mrs Hortensia C Hornblower. He appears to get better with each year that passes and has developed a special relationship with the audience.

The cast have excellent chemistry between them, and it is nice to see they get as much enjoyment from performing as the audience does from watching.

Special mention goes to damsel-in-distress Mette Mask McKinney Møller, played by the talented Rikke Hvidberg. In her they have found someone who delivers the truly powerful vocals needed to give the musical pieces an added dimension.

Impressive scope and ambition
Finally, a performance wouldn’t be complete without its backstage crew. Once again credit must be given where credit is due and the period costumes, set-designs and music are impressive in scope and ambition.

The only ascertainable negative from an otherwise entertaining show was during the third act when, judging from the audience, it appeared to drag on slightly with the innuendos and jokes beginning to lose some of their earlier potency.

Do not let that dissuade you though – 'One-Eyed Willy-The Quest for the Big Chest' is an immensely entertaining show and the laughs continue to the end.   

Crazy Christmas Cabaret
until Jan 3 (no performances Dec 24 or 25); Tivolis Glassalen, Vesterbrogade 3, Cph V; 150-370kr, discounts for under-25s; tivoli.dk 

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