Think Cagney and Lacey but in Belfast and on Christmas Eve and that’s Mistletoe & Crime. Northern Ireland has an interesting sense of humour; it’s black, witty, self deprecating and also very warm, this play is equal parts of all those mixed together. Mistletoe & Crime is the story of two female members of the PSNI, one on her first night and the other one on her last.
The perspectives give the show a great dynamic, one jaded and one naive, each women bringing their own unique charm to each situation. The major appeal to me of this play was two fold, it showed the PSNI without mentioning the troubles and two it showed female police officers in the PSNI, they are severally under represented in the media, so its nice to see them get a fair turn. The comedy is universal and had the leads been men it wouldn’t have been much different, that’s because the writing is that good, now I should mention that the lead women bring so much to the play. I doubt anyone else could fill their shoes easily.
The show really was a slice of Belfast as it took us from Sandyrow; to the BT9 area, back into the city centre and out again, you saw the familiar sites that make this city what it is. Whether it be our thriving eastern European community, the SOS Bus, Uncle Hugo, The Sheep at the Waterfront Hall or even Duke Special, this play had it all and so much more. You usually go to the theatre to forget the outside world but in this case you are drawn into it and you can’t help but love the chaos that its agents of order get sucked into. All these things make the play quite the love letter to Belfast’s insanity.
Now if you’re not a local to the city this play is still for you as it’s comedy through and through. Sure you might not get all the references but you can still understand the plot and laugh at all the jokes. Mistletoe & Crime does have a serious side; it’s about endings and beginnings, whether it’d be starting a new dream or loosing an old one, this play touches on those topics, but it gives you hope. Hope being the most important part of the Christmas season, this play is full of the stuff; sure behind every laugh there was a sad story, a senile old women, a undiscovered musician, a broken heart, but the play gives you hope in all these cases and more, some people may be cynical and call that cheesy but I call that beautiful.
A wonderful story that gives you a new modern Christmas tale with all the joys and wonders of the classics, complete with a fantastic cameo, one great song in the form of background noise and the want for a fruit loaf, this has been my favourite play of the year and brought some much needed warmth to my heart on these cold nights.
Editor in Chief: David