The show claims to be inspired from a never-aired Christmas special that was planned for 1977, featuring David Bowie and friends. Creation took place with the help of “network notes and space technology,” altered to a humorous irreverence and rock star deprecation. While the stage is composed of just one set piece and simple props, the performance is flowing with running gags, costume changes, musical numbers by all visiting characters, and of course a heavy dose of Bowie hits. The many friends and contemporaries of David Bowie that make their appearance include Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithful, Iggy Pop, Annie Lennox, Charo, Bing Crosby, Nipsey Russell Buster Poindexter and the ghost of Freddie Mercury.
After an opening introduction by Mick Jagger, and Bowie's grand entrance, the show progresses through a series of skits and songs, transitioned with video interludes. For the most part everyone is cheerful about the Christmas/solstice special, and the guests all celebrate in their own unique ways. Some with substance(Iggy, Marianne), others by eliciting impertinent social concerns(Annie). An evil threatens the fete in the form of Bizarro Bowie, who escapes from captivity to seek revenge on the one who stole his name(David Bowie).
Most of the jokes are outright silly, so much so that you are sometimes surprised to find yourself laughing at them. Nevertheless, even something as goofy as Bizarro Bowie's glitter throwing somehow doesn't seem to wear out. Likewise is the effect of a drug-fueled Iggy Pop convincing you he is allergic to bees, the endless plugging of “space cruise,” and the many deaths of Buster Poindexter. If you are into wacky humor you will definitely get your fill here.
A personal favorite of the show was the role of Freddie Mercury. His fey actings were always very lively and entertaining. This is especially true during the “Under Pressure” duet, during which he meets with the audience - his “people on the streets.”
If any one part of the show is reason to attend, or makes you want to see it again, it would be the final showdown between David and Bizarro Bowie. Other very memorable moments occur which I will not spoil here. Though I enjoyed this production of a David Bowie Christmas special, I am very thankful that the real Bowie and gang never actually embarrassed themselves in doing it. Presented in this format though, it works out hilariously well.
The David Bowie Christmas Special can be seen at National Pastime Theatre at 4139 N Broadway in Chicago. For more information visit www.nmtchicago.org.