How to Catch a Krampus is the brand new alternative Christmas extravaganza from Sink the Pink and writer, director and performer Ginger Johnson. It’s a twisted tale that mixes Victorian ghost stories with the scary legend of the Krampus. Dave Cross had a chin wag with Ginger to get the low down on this festive frightener.
Hey Ginger, can you describe what How to Catch a Krampus is all about?
Hiya, pet. How to Catch a Krampus is a one-of-a-kind theatre show, combining all kinds of horrifying nonsense – stories, songs, and skeletons in the closet. It’s inspired by the dodgy goings-on in the darkened corners and dressing rooms of Victorian London’s Music Halls, and the bands of weirdos that lived and died on those stages. Part variety show, part horror show, with dash of Christmas on the side, It’s like Tales from the Crypt meets Disney on Ice, except everyone’s in drag.
Sink the Pink are famous for lavish club nights, how did this come about?
Two years ago, Selfridges asked us to put on a show in a theatre they had built in their store on Oxford Street leading up to Christmas. I wrote a pantomime called Down the Rabbit hole, about a family of rabbits being evicted from the Deep Dark Wood due to gentrification. I’m a bit of a panto geek, so it was really fun to take those classic gags and give them a Sink The Pink twist. Last year, they built us our very own working pub The Queen’s Head – in the basement. That show was set up as a live taping of a sitcom and starred a 9 feet-tall inflatable snowman called MrSnowballs3000, who sprayed snow from the end of his giant sparkly penis. We knew that this year we wanted the show to be bigger than ever and moving into a theatre was the best way to do that, so we hooked up with The Pleasance and here we are.
What’s the story of this show?
The show this year is a whole new ballgame, just to keep us all on our toes. Inspired by the Victorian tradition of Christmas ghost stories, we’ve been rolling around in the darker side of the festive season to put together a collection of terrifying treats, in the tradition of the Music Hall, there’s something in there for everyone… if you’re brave enough. I don’t want to give too much away because #spoilers, but you’ll probably want to check under your bed before you go to sleep after coming to see it.
In folklore a Krampus is a kind of anti Santa, who punishes naughty children… why were you drawn to that?
Krampus is the ‘bad cop’ to Santa Claus’ ‘good cop’. He’s half man, half goat and – depending on which version of the story you are told – he appears out of the winter dark to punish bad children by poking them with sharpened sticks, jabbing them with his pointy tongue, or throwing them in a sack and taking them to hell… Festive! Somewhere along the line, in amongst the Coca Cola trucks and flashing decorations, Krampus faded into the Christmas shadows a little, probably because he’s absolutely fucking horrifying. I didn’t like to think of him being left to waste, just because he was a bit of a creep. After all, he was only doing his job.
Can you tell us who’s in the show and what characters do they play?
We’ve got a crackpot team of absolute witches working with us this year, all of us switching wigs around to play a few different characters. Sink the Pink fans will recognise some familiar face – Maxi More, Mahatma Michael and Mairi Houston – from last year’s show, as well as a star turn from Lavinia Co-op as a murderous dominatrix. We’ve got a few new faces joining us, including David Cumming from fab horror comedy troupe ‘Kill The Beast’ and musician Alicia Jane Turner, who’s working with our MD, Sarah Bodalbhai (who readers will no doubt recognise from her turns on piano at the RVT, amongst many others) to write and perform a spine chilling live horror music score, guaranteeing you nightmares before Christmas.
The show runs until Christmas… is it fair to describe it as ‘an alternative Christmas show’?
Yes, indeed. In some ways, it’s a good show for people who might not be that fond of the festive period – I know I sometimes feel like that – but there are also enough sleigh bells and snowstorms in there if that’s what you’ve come for, as well. I try to keep the Christmas music to a minimum, as it’s enough to make a murderer of me by the middle of November, but we’ve got some bonkers Christmas cover songs that we’ve been working on that are bound to make an appearance.
Anything else we need to know?
This is a strictly over 18s show, with a punch big enough to knock your wig off, so get down early for a spot of Dutch courage in the lovely Pleasance bar beforehand – you might need it!