Festive season review: Dickens with a Difference double bill, Trafalgar Studios 2
Review: Bernard Shaw's timeless Widowers' Houses, Orange Tree Theatre

Festive season review: This is Not A Christmas Play, Top Secret Comedy Club

Jordan Kouame and Matthew Leigh in This is Not a Christmas Play. Photos by Sofi Berenger

David (Matthew Leigh) is cooking dinner for his ex-girlfriend whom he hopes will come but he can't get rid of his layabout, unemployed flat mate Tim (Jordan Kouame). However, this is the least of David's worries as the two are about to be targeted by a couple of burglars who are the master of disguise. Or not as the case may be.

This Is Not A Christmas Play is described as an answer to a commercial Christmas and is apparently set during the festive season although you have to concentrate to notice the references - David is cooking turkey (for two?) and Die Hard is on the telly.

It has moments of high farce - fake moustaches falling off and chases around the sofa; moments that are almost pantomime with a couple of references to the audience that almost warranted a response but didn't and moments where it is more comedy drama. The problem is that doesn't quite end up being any of those things.

At its heart is a story of friends drifting apart and learning to appreciate and accept each other again. But, that gets clouded by the farcical sequences with the burglars. And as with farce credibility is thrown out of the window but many of the funny lines feel forced - would male flatmates really have a faberge egg and a posh tea set as 'impulse buys'?

There are a few funny moments but not really enough. My friend who accompanied me summed it up by saying "I don't know what to make of that". For my part I wanted it to choose a genre and fully commit weaving between three and pulling it off is very difficult to achieve and sadly this didn't quite work for me.

This Is Not A Christmas Play is an hour long and runs at the Top Secret Comedy Club until January 4.

Other festive season reviews:

Dickens with a Difference double bill, Trafalgar Studios 2

Booty and the Biatch, Lost Theatre

And I'm adding this because I think it is appropriate for the season

Hope, Royal Court