The Old Bull & Bush cast: Sherri L. Edelen, Albert-Coia,, Katherine Riddle, Jimmy Mavrikes and Brian O'Connor (courtesy photo)

By Erin DeCaprio

While the Washington area buzzes with high-tech light shows, social media scandal and roads clogged with trucks delivering the fruits of “Cyber-Monday” deals, a quiet corner of Old Town Alexandria glows with the inviting warmth of a neighborhood pub bursting with timeless holiday cheer from a century ago. Welcome to Christmas at Old Bull & Bush, a longtime tradition in our nation’s capital that MetroStage brings back to local revelers for another year. The lobby is transformed to cozy pub, offering sausage rolls, wee mince pies and ales to set the mood for a couple hours of festive fun with the loyal patrons of a 1918 British Music Hall in Hampstead, London.

Katherine Riddle and Jimmy Mavrikes (courtesy photo)

Hosting the evening’s events is The Chairman (Brian O’Conner), a jovial master of ceremonies with a friendly smile and a penchant for groan-worthy wordplay. He’s joined at the Bull and Bush by the legendary Flossie Forde (Sherri L. Elden), the brassy and charming songstress who brought to fame standards like “Pack Up Your Troubles” and “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”—two tunes featured in one of several audience sing-alongs throughout the evening. Our delightful and lovely barmaid Daisy May (Katherine Riddle) plays a good sport to the dashing young Percival Pennyfeather (Jimmy Mavrikes) and the tipsy Bertie Ramsbottom (Albert Coia), a naughty little elf and something of a mascot to the bar. Holding the show together on a cheerful musical string is Maestro Peabody (Musical Director Joseph Walsh), who brings humor and warmth to all the shenanigans.

And the shenanigans are plenty, with songs, jokes, poems and general merriment that brings the audience into the fun at every opportunity. Don’t be surprised if you find one of the performers sitting on your lap or chiding you for some fictional misbehavior. We’re all family here, and it’s all in good cheer. The numbers range from old chestnuts like “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” to bawdy double-entendres like “Don’t Touch Me Plums” to the heartfelt “Christmas in the Trenches,” which is played together with a recitation of “In Flanders Fields,” a tribute to the soldiers fighting World War I, even while we’re all enjoying a pint and a good laugh.

Sherri L. Edelen as Miss Florrie Forde and Albert Coia as Mr. Bertie Ramsbottam (courtesy photo)

Warm and welcoming, fun and festive, gentle and jubilant, Christmas at the Old Bull & Bush is a refreshing reminder of what this season is really about: Taking a moment with old friends to celebrate with music and merriment that we survived another crazy year while we look forward to what the next year will bring.

Christmas at the Old Bull & Bush runs at MetroStage through Dec. 30. Evening performances are Thursday through Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. Matinees are Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. For ticketing information, please call the box office at 703-548-9044 or visit www.metrostage.org.