Review by Daz Gale
We all have our Christmas traditions, don’t we? Whether it’s a bottle of Bucks Fizz on Christmas morning, sitting down to watch another hilarious (apparently) episode of Mrs Brown’s Boys after the eighth bottle of Bucks Fizz or the annual fight after a party game goes wrong. A new favourite Christmas tradition of mine is the Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Show. Having attended for the past two years and left the theatre so full of festive spirit, I longed to sit on Santa’s lap, I jumped at the chance to attend for the third year in a row. Would their latest show jingle my bells as much as the others?
The stars of The Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Show are, unsurprisingly, Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme – both alumni from RuPaul’s Drag Race having competed in the fifth and sixth seasons of the show respectively as well as returning for All Stars seasons where Jinkx was crowned the “Queen of all Queens” and DeLa infamously eliminated herself. The pair have also managed to enjoy diverse careers through their own theatre projects (reviews of solo shows from DeLa and Jinkx can be found here) with Jinkx soon to be seen in the next season of Doctor Who. While they thrive individually, there is something special about seeing the pair together and this latest holiday show was no exception.
Now in its fifth year, there is always the risk of the show running stale or the pair running out of ideas. This forms the basis of this year’s theme as Jinkx and DeLa initially struggle with ideas coming up with the same ones they have done in previous years. After a lot of back and forth they decide to take a year off from their annual holiday spectacular and go on holiday instead (but not for Christmas) – not what a 2000 strong audience at the London Palladium were expecting. It soon becomes clear that the monster they have created has become self-aware, leaving them trapped in their own holiday show where they must follow the basic rules of every holiday show, trying to find a way to escape. If that doesn’t scream “HO HO HO MERRY CHRISTMAS”, quite honestly I don’t know what does.
As premises go, this year’s one gives the pair a setup for a lot of fun. While previous iterations of the show have really played up the differences in DeLa’s innocent nature (2021’s experience with puppets will haunt my Christmases forever) and Jinkx’s innuendo and perpetual horniness, this has been dialled back slightly this time around to create a narrative which, rather than focus on the pairs differences, has them work together to defeat the enemy… in this case a Christmas show. Sounds like a setup for Jinkx in Doctor Who really. Their instantly recognisable personalities are still prominent though with Jinkx getting some absolutely filthy and always funny one-liners.
It is the musical numbers that really make this year’s The Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Show shine. BenDeLaCreme tackles a Wham! Classic… but not the one you might expect in an early number that sets the bar high, though you may never listen to the song in the same way again. Jinkx had me howling as she transformed ‘Santa Baby’ into ‘Krampus Daddy’ with lyrics every bit as dirty as you might hope – tis the season after all. The numbers the pair performed together showcased their collective talents and chemistry with a bit of musical theatre thrown in as a new take on ‘Big Spender’ saw them living out their Fosse fantasy with the immortal line “Not moving is my favourite choreography”.
Bookended by classic numbers from the pair, opening with ‘That Kind of Holiday Show’ and closing with the song Michael Buble wishes he would have written, ‘Everyone Is Traumatised By Christmas’, their knack for poking fun at the festive season while still making you feel overcome by the spirit is second to none. The undoubted musical highlight of the night came from what could be the most genius sequence I have witnessed this year – what was expected to be a fairly conventional (well, as conventional as they get) rendition of ‘Little Drummer Boy’ suddenly transformed into one of the songs of 2023, ‘Padam Padam’. With clever lyrics and an inspired name change to ‘Pa Rum Pa Pum’, if ever a performance showcased the phenomenal talents of BenDeLaCreme, it was this one.
The comedy and setup that filled the remainder of the show was always exceptional with Jinkx and DeLa not only having a flawless knack for comedy and their own timing but a deep understanding of their audience and what they will appreciate. While this show is embarking on a world tour, they made sure to fill their first London night with a few British references – who knew the use of the word “Celsius” in a Christmas show would elicit such a huge response?
BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon are two incredible talents in their own right. Together, they are an unstoppable force. In The Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Show, they have created something truly special that goes from strength to strength every year. I may have loved the show in 2021 and 2022 but this was easily their best one yet. Sharp writing mixed with warm and witty performances created a show full of surprises that would give Mariah Carey and Cliff Richard a run for their money in the battle for the Queens of Christmas. While the show might be harmless fun for the most part, it hid a more serious undertone of forgetting the problems in this dark and scary world to bring a much needed piece of joy in the hope we pay it forward.
With a show so jolly, it could warm even the coldest of Scrooges, The Jinx and DeLa Holiday Show once again proved why it is the most wonderful show of the year and why there’s nobody like BenDelaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon to make the yuletide gay.
The Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Show continues UK dates this week with a second show at the London Palladium on Thursday 16th November.
The tour then continues internationally until 30th December. Full dates and tickets from jinkxanddela.com
Photos by Santiago Felipe