Ever wondered how our good old tradition of Christmas might look to someone who isn’t familiar with planet Earth? Flossy and Boo (played by Anja Conti and Laura Jeffs) are ‘not from round here’, and in light of their lack of knowledge of Christmas, the pair have devised a play, The Alternativity, all about their research into Christmas festivities. The show is that The Other Room, Cardiff, and I attend on behalf of Quench Magazine.
Dressed in flamboyant party dresses, with candyfloss coloured hair and painted on rosy cheeks and freckles, there is a confident energy that comes effortlessly along with Flossy and Boo. We are all given party hats as we enter, with the quirky pair curtseying and guiding us to our seats. It becomes immediately clear that this is going to be a peculiar evening. We kick off the festivities with an alternative alphabet of Christmas and it soon becomes clear that this pair don’t let up in terms of their spirit and vigour. They work very well together; with quite contrasting personalities which brings a lot of the humour.
Flossy and Boo are musical comedians, and what is charming about this is that they both have a genuine talent both for their instruments (primarily guitars and ukuleles), voice, and song writing. One song consists of Boo reading out humorous Christmas cards sent from bragging friends about what a great year they have all had, accompanied by Flossy on keyboard: a personal favourite.
With help from technician Bethan, the production makes fantastic use of lighting and music. While the original set is alive with twinkling Christmas lights, stockings around the fireplace and tinsel on the walls, the lights are frequently cut and the audience are left in utter blackness. This punctuation of light and dark adds an almost uncomfortable drama. In this way, the audience are kept on the edge of their seats, and despite the light-hearted and often overwhelming excitement of these two, there are some parts that are genuinely sinister. A letter from one of Santa’s elves, played aloud to the room, is particularly eerie, and this is an important tone change from the general make-up of the show, giving it a whole other dimension.
The audience are all quite heavily involved, whether that be through costume, joke reading, sprout holding, or simply holding Flossy’s hand. It’s all-inclusive fun, and I highly recommend you go and get a taste of it for yourself.