What happens when extended family with different personalities and agendas come together for Christmas? In A Merry X-Mess, the second-ever Kenyan Christmas feature, the Nyatis have to get through the seven days of Christmas without killing each other.
Chaos erupts when the competitive family matriarch Zawadi invites her equally competitive sister from the village to help her win the annual family Christmas choir competition at church. Meanwhile, Zawadi tries to meddle in her son’s love life, while her daughter, visiting from America, grapples with the African traditions that her uncle tries to impose on her children, as well as the allure of moving back home for good. As modern beliefs and traditions clash, and with the ultimate choir competition bringing out the worst and best in them, can the spirit of Christmas bring joy to the Nyati family?
Directed by Gilbert Lukalia (Mission to Rescue), A Merry X-Mess is written by Damaris Irungu (Pepeta and Crime and Justice). Irungu describes A Merry X-Mess as a “fun, escapist, heart-warming delight” that can be enjoyed by families across Africa.
“This is a story about family, Christmas and all the joy that Christmas brings
“I’ve always wanted to tell a Christmas story that can resonate, not only with Kenyans but with the rest of the continent,” says Irungu. “I am hoping this one travels. We are also hoping that people will love our characters so much that they’ll want to spend another Christmas with them.”
Meet the cast:
Regina Re (Pieces of Us) is Zawadi Nyati, the competitive family matriarch with a constant need to meddle in her family’s lives, whether it’s setting her bachelor son up with her favourite church girl or manipulating her family to help her win the Christmas choir competition.
Melissa Kiplagat, popularly known for her role in Country Queen, plays Toni, who’s just come back home from America with her two sons and is looking for a reason to move back home for good.
Kina’s Bruce Makau plays Ken, a ladies’ man who feels that he’s still too young to settle down – until he meets a hard-to-get church girl.
Sheila Munyiva, known for Rafiki and Country Queen, plays Mwix, the kind-hearted church girl Zawadi is determined to set up her son with.
Mufasa Kibet, who first made his acting debut as a dirty cop in Showmax’s police procedural Crime and Justice, plays Charlie, Zawadi’s youngest son, who’s just looking to spend some quality time with his wife and family.
Joel Kennedy Otukho (Country Queen) is the know-it-all uncle from the village who believes in the importance of following traditions, even for his young granchildren, who are visiting from America.
Naomi Ramtu (Kiu) is Aunty Fidelis, Zawadi’s equally competitive sister from the village, who has a constant need to raid the alcohol cabinet when no one is looking.
The film also stars Raymond Karago (Twende) and newcomers Eunice Kangai, David Muturi, Chase Njogu Mathenge and Gachecheh Kenyua.
A Merry X-Mess is Showmax’s second Christmas feature film in Kenya, following Reuben Odanga’s A Familiar Christmas, which was also Kenya’s first-ever Christmas feature when it premiered in December 2022.
A Merry X-Mess premieres exclusively on Showmax on 15 December.