Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay (Review)

Last week I went to see Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay with Luke. I have been wanting to see the show for a couple of years after I saw a few people went back in 2019. I was so excited when I saw it was back this year, so quickly booked tickets for both of us, even though I didn't necessarily know that Luke would "get it". 

Adam Kay is a now retired doctor who specialised in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He has written numerous books, with his first being This is Going to Hurt, which shared some of his most hilarious and crude stories from the field. He then followed this up with a Christmas addition, sharing the 7 years he worked over the Christmas season for the National Health Service. The show is a spin off from the later and watching it at the end of November, certainly put me in the Christmas spirit. 

The premise to the show is the simple fact that despite the festive period, 1.4 million NHS staff are working each and every Christmas. Adam relates to this fact multiple times throughout the show and for me, it hit my heart personally because of my off duty this year and it did make me tear up just a little. It's the shocking reality of the NHS career, and one I hadn't truly appreciated before being given my first Christmas off duty. 

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas is a love letter to all those who spend their festive season on the front line, removing babies and baubles from the various places they get stuck, at the most wonderful time of the year.

I didn't quite know what to expect from a show by an ex-doctor so I didn't really have expectations but it was nothing like I had imagined. The stage has a simply set up with light up Christmas baubles in the background, of course shaped like an ECG wave. In the forefront of the stage are 3 medication bottles, two supporting a keyboard and one acting as a stand to hold his speech and items. I loved it, although the lights did make it a little hard to focus at times. 

Like I said, I didn't really know what the show was and in some ways I was a little disappointed, but I was also pleasantly surprised. The majority of the show is made up of him reading passages out of the book from each year. I had already read the book, so I am glad that I hadn't read it in a few years, otherwise that would have been a bit tedious. Luke of course found these hilarious as he hadn't heard any of them before! These were interspersed with songs of traditional Christmas carols with changed lyrics. Honestly, they were super cleverly written, despite the slightly out of tune singing. It's also nice to see Adam's personality coming out with his body language and acting. There wasn't as much audience participation, like there would be in a pantomime, but there was a fun quiz. Sadly I only knew 2 out of the 8 questions, but despite that, it was fun to get involved! 

The show is still touring at a small number of locations, so search your local theatre to see if Adam's coming close to you or see here for available tickets left. I would recommend it for anyone who wants a fun and easy going night out, both NHS staff and user alike.