Theatre Mirror Review "Santaland Diaries"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2012 by Tony Annicone

"The Santaland Diaries"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Ocean State Theatre Company's second show of their opening winter season is David Sedaris' comic monologue "The SantaLand Diaries". The show is adapted from the author's best selling "Holidays on Ice" for the stage by Joe Mantello. "The SantaLand Diaries" is based on Sedaris' true experience as a one-time Macy's Christmas elf named Crumpet. Crumpet, the surly Macy's Christmas elf is again in his element, a crass, commercial winter wonderland where he spews his special brand of unconventional holiday humor. He arrives in New York in the 1990's with dreams of being a writer for the soap opera "One Life to Live" and instead lands a part-time job as an elf. From humiliating elf indoctrination to scrapes with miscast Santa Claus' and obnoxious customers, the hilarious tale is spun by talented, Lennie Watts as Crumpet, the elf. The show is merrily subversive as he relates the only thing he ever whittled in his life was a bong as well as fall on your knees funny. Amiee Turner directs this show wonderfully in this beautiful new theatre in Warwick. It is a state of the art building with fantastic acoustics and sight lines for the audience. What a fun filled start to usher in the holiday season with this funny show that isn't  "A Christmas Carol". Lennie's high energy presentation will have you cheering at the end of the night.

Amiee directs the show with a keen eye for comic situations and gives Lennie clever shtick and humorous antics to perform. Her manic blocking of this mischievous elf is wonderful. Crumpet the elf is a bundle of energy during this one hour long show. He is hilarious as he does a Santa cheer while standing on a bench as well as doing a sign language segement. His comic description of the characters on One Life to Live as well as his exploits on becoming an elf are well done. Lennie commands the stage running around explaining the different sections of SantaLand and all the weird people he works with and meets every day. One of the weird people is a father who complains that all his son needs is a woman. Other wacky elves include Ginger Snap who is a fat elf who asks stupid questions, Flakey, a bitchy elf who designs strange art with hair on it and Walrus, a womanizing elf who tries to pick up the kid's mothers. Crumpet also complains about having to wear a green velvet suit and when it gets closer to Christmas, he renames himself Blisters. There is a scene when he describes a Santa who takes a real interest in the people he meets. The festive and beautiful winter wonderland set is by Kimberly V. Powers while the costumes are by Marcia Zammerelli. So for a Christmas show with an adult theme to it, be sure to catch the naughty and bawdy "The SantaLand Diaries" where you will leave the theatre laughing merrily all the way home. Ocean State Theatre Company's auditions for their main shows next year will be held on Friday December 21 & 28 at 9 A.M. They will open with "Fools" in January followed by "Rent", "Race" and "The King & I". "The SantaLand Diaries" is my 1100th review.

"The Santaland Diaries' (12 to 30 December)
OCEAN STATE THEATRE COMPANY
@ 1245 Jefferson Boulevard, WARWICK RI
1(401)921-6800

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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