By Jay Menard
For many people, a traditional figgy pudding conjures up feelings of warmth, family, and the holidays (not for me, mind you. I’m repulsed by the concept…) But, conceptually at least, Figgy Pudding is an apt title for Jimmy Hogg’s wonderfully warm, funny, and family centred look back at the Christmases of his youth.
For those of us of a certain vintage, the show has added relevance. Whether it’s growing up with New Wave and visions of keyboards dancing through our heads, or an odd fascination with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Hogg’s story brings you right back to a specific time and place in the 80s. And even if you’re not of that generation, there are more than enough relatable moments about family — from playing games with them to drinking stories — that mean that common ground can easily be found.
As great as the story is, Hogg’s asides may be even better. Whether he’s delving into explaining the intricacies of a Sarlacc Pit reference (I admit, I’m nerdy enough to have been the one who giggled), or acting out a scene between two rather similar women who both brought guacamole to the office party (and I’m considering adding ‘totes surrealsies’ to my lexicon), Hogg is uproariously funny as he delves into the deepest recesses of the reference, mining humour in every crack.
Toys, food, drinking, games, and questioning why we’re not more afraid of a strange man breaking into our house during the holidays — this show covers a lot of bases.
Figgy Pudding is a hilarious look back on the holidays — and family gatherings — of our youth. Hogg is a wonderful storyteller and I, for one, am waiting with bated breath for Guacamole: The Musical.
***** — Five out of five stars
This review originally appeared on theatreinlondon.ca