WHAT would you do if you came into your office late one Christmas Eve and found an elf breaking in?
That is the situation Gary faces in Night Before Christmas, a racy, naughty and hilariously funny play now on at Gary’s Bottle Shop in Druid Street, Bermondsey.
The audience is seated on benches on a mezzanine level in the warehouse and acts as fly on the wall to what happens when the hapless Gary, brilliantly played by Tim O’Hara comes across the elf.
But is the elf who he says he is - a worker in the "international gift distribution industry", having fallen off Santa’s sleigh or merely a chancer who gets caught breaking in to the warehouse, a place Gary hides his knock off goods?
To find out Gary calls his best friend Chris who is not best pleased at being called in the middle of the night. He arrives clad in a blue onesie and immediately believes Gary to be taken for a ride, taking him to task for ruining his night.
However, with the elf, played by Glenn Hanning, legs bound by packing tape, hands tied by fairy lights and seated on a chair, protesting his innocence, the boys have a tough time.
Things are complicated further with the arrival of Cherry, a woman Gary has been sleeping with in exchange for some of his hooky gear arrives demanding he gives her the Star Wars light sabre for her son's Christmas present that he has promised.
It all makes for some entertaining banter and a fascinating set of arguments about whether the elf is real or not. In fact, the writer, Anthony Neilson keeps the audience guessing right up to the end.
It is a fast paced, brilliantly put together show full of slapstick, farce and jokes to make your hair curl and will make you laugh til you cry. And if you are after an antidote to traditional pantos, you won’t do better than spend an hour in Gary’s warehouse seeing this. A winner.
The Night Before Christmas is on at Gary's Warehouse, The Bottle Shop, Druid Street, Bermondsey until December 19. Tickets from £15. Visit www.differentbreed.com for tickets and full listings.