Who’s Holiday ★★★★★

Who’s Holiday sees Drag Race icon Miz Cracker telling the story of Cindy Lou Who as she recalls that Christmas Eve she first met the Grinch!

Do you remember Cindy-Lou – the little girl who woke up while the Grinch was trying to steal presents in the classic Dr Seuss festive tale, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! For the purposes of this review, we are going to assume you said yes. 

And did you ever wonder what happened to that little girl after the events, when the Grinch returned all the presents and food? You did! We are telling you, you did! Well wonder no more…  Miz Cracker has arrived as Cindy Lou Who in Who’s Holiday to bring you up to date.

All images by Mark Senior

We meet Cindy Lou, all grown up and a vision in pink gingham, on Christmas Eve as she recalls that fateful other night before Christmas when she was two or three and woke to find the Grinch “stealing our shit”. Of course we know the Grinch returned what he had stolen when he heard the residents of Whoville singing joyful Christmas songs instead of bemoaning the lack of gifts and feasting. Was Cindy Lou’s subsequent life full of candy canes and candy floss as high as her hair? In a word, no. The intervening years have been a long walk off a short pier for poor Cindy Lou. 

As she is about to divulge more, she is interrupted by a phone call from one of her expected guests. She’s throwing a party in her trailer for all her friends. It’s Thidwick, the Big-Hearted Moose calling to cancel with the unconvincing excuse of an antler infection. 

Undeterred, Cindy Lou is determined to get the party started with a drink – and following more no-shows, with a pipe of Who-Hash (which we are reliably informed that “this shit is bananas”). 

We are not going to spoil the details of the tragic and twisted turns her life has taken – that is for our glamorous hostess. Except to say we were particularly agog to hear that the Grinch’s heart wasn’t his only organ to swell three sizes larger when Cindy Lou turned eighteen.

What makes Who’s Holiday so special (apart from not being one of the 268 versions of A Christmas Carol that have descended on London this year) is that Matthew Lombardo‘s script is made up entirely of Dr Seuss-style rhyming couplets. What an absolute triumph of memory and performance skill that Miz Cracker can sustain this for the hour-long running time without it ever losing interest. Miz has an incredibly warm and engaging stage presence. She has the fierce intelligence and acting chops to land every moment of pathos just as hard as the multitude of punchlines.

The show somehow counterbalances irresistible sentimentality with a decent helping of filth. Miz drops some hilarious ad-libs as asides from the rhymes. A section of audience participation where a teacher called Mickey is taken from the audience works well. Giving his festive-themed attire the side eye, “I bet you’re a riot” was the damning verdict. 

Designer Justin Williams set is a beautiful interpretation of what Cindy Lou’s Yuletide trailer would be like and producers Jack Maple and Christopher D. Clegg should be commended for giving the show the production values that many solo shows lack.

But ultimately Miz Cracker is the show. She’s a one-woman wonder. By the time we reach the final singalong to Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Miz “You sing it, I don’t know the words, I’m Jewish”), this craftily sentimental and profoundly decent show will have warmed your heart. It brought a tear to our eye – not so Grinchy after all!

In tribute to the show’s rhymes, we have penned these words:

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

Where had they gone, this needed some nouse

They’d gone to see Who’s Holiday at the Southwark Playhouse

We say get your tickets now, and don’t be a slacker,

Don’t miss Miz, The Recs’ Christmas Cracker,

If this ain’t for you, then let us be blunt,

Just stay in your cave, you Grinchy old….

A new Christmas Star is Born – ★★★★★ 5 stars for a Merry Miz Cracker Christmas

Who's Holiday Tickets

Who's Holiday continues at Southwark Playhouse until 7 January 2023

Book now