Players Review: A Pre-Christmas Nightmare

In a season of Players debuts, I made mine. I have been to an embarrassing single play since my arrival to Trinity almost four years ago, primarily because of laziness and lack of interest.  As a result, to accompany my resolute efforts to change this while I still had time, I had no anticipations or expectations of what was to follow.  Saying that, the notion of a 24-hour musical, where the cast are auditioned, rehearse, and perform, all within this fear-inducingly short period was one that made my ears recoil. But the musical – “A Pre-Christmas Nightmare (for legal reasons)” by the venerable Tem Bruton, is a good one, and as I shuffled into an entirely full theatre, I was excited.


The set was laudable to the point of bemusement. This too, was made in 24 hours, and was nothing short of spectacular. This is a set that I would be impressed by were it made over the course of weeks. I can only suspect it to be the result of a nightlong tryst, lasting to the depths of the next day. This was a precedent for how my night would continue; in short, I was enormously impressed.


The opening scene was a kaleidoscope of characters; more than thirty, chanting Elfman’s “This is Halloween”. The amount of faltering mouths and unconfident eyes were few – surprising considering the number that must not have been well acquainted with the movie. Enter Jack Skellington, donning a bare chest, leather leggings, and a wonderfully accurate accent.  His role was considerable, and his quantity of lines immense, not to mention numerous solos, which were performed almost flawlessly.  When they were not, they were met with raucous laughter from the audience, including mine, and the occasional bark from his man-dog.


The cast surpassed all expectations of what is possible within the range of 24-hours. Passing through Halloween-town to Christmas-town, with the beautiful and brief reference to Arthursday-town, the musical was not dull for a minute, and followed closely enough its legal namesake, save for a few cameos from a sexy bean Garda, and the sightings of Sandy Claws over Tullamore.


With all ticket proceeds going directly to the St. Francis Hospice of Raheny, I can think of no better way to spend one and a bit hours on a Saturday night. I’d go again if I had another year of it. Either way, I’ll be back to the Players theatre before long.


Sarah O’Neill




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