News that Kim Dotcom had joined the Basement's end-of-year Christmas bash set off the kind of frenetic anticipation that has children refusing to go to sleep on Christmas Eve.

And just as unwrapping the present seldom matches the wish list whispered into Santa's ear, there were some disappointments along with a few rushes of excitement.

The appearance of the big man in a video segment at the end of the show - and in person on opening night - was a genuine thrill.

Dotcom's flair for showmanship and memorable physical presence make him a natural Santa Claus and he landed a few well-timed jabs at the government's staggering incompetence in the handling of his case.


But anyone hoping that Dotcom's involvement might trigger a splatter-fest of hard-hitting topical satire will be disheartened to find the show lines up an eclectic mix of soft targets that includes Michael Jackson, Jesus, Björk, storybook icon Where's Wally, Carmen Sandiego (from a series of educational computer games) and Joseph Kony - the head of a Ugandan guerrilla group notorious for abducting child soldiers and sex slaves.

The Kony material seemed particularly ill-judged in that it failed to recognise there is nothing funny about the appalling brutality of Africa's on-going civil wars and had little to say about the over-blown hype of the Kony 2012 viral video campaign.

On the positive side the show opens strongly with X-rated tales of drug-taking and debauchery among Santa's helpers at the North Pole. A Björk parody neatly captures the flaky weirdness of the Icelandic singer songwriter and Oliver Driver was in fine form as an intoxicated narrator with unresolved relationship issues.

The well-lubricated opening night crowd enjoyed the audience participation gags, though with a running time in excess of two hours the show could have used a bit of rigorous editing.

What: Megachristmas
Where: Basement Theatre
When: Until December 22