Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Santaland Diaries" & "Season's Greetings"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2006 by Tony Annicone

"The Santaland Diaries" &
"Season's Greetings"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The Gamm Theatre's second show of their 22nd season is David Sedaris' comic monologues "The SantaLand Diaries" & "Season's Greetings". The two one act shows are adapted from the author's best-selling "Holidays on Ice". "The SantaLand Diaries" is based on Sedaris' true experience as a one-time Macy's Christmas elf named Crumpet. He arrives in New York 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 Santas and obnoxious customers, the hilarious tale is spun by a talented, Steve Kidd as Crumpet, the elf. "Season's Greetings'' is about a determinedly sunny Mrs. Jocelyn Dunbar played superbly by Casey Seymour Kim who takes pen to paper recounting the joys, the jobs and unexpected surprises of the past year which include the arrival of her husband's illegitimate gold-digging Vietnamese daughter on their doorstep. It is twisted, tragic and hilarious in its lurid revelations. Both clever shows are a wonderful alternative to "Christmas Carol" and their high energy presentations by both performers will have you cheering at the end of the night.

The first show is directed by Chris Byrnes and stars Steve Kidd as Crumpet. Steve is a bundle of energy during his over one hour long show. His comic description of the characters on One Life to Live as well as his exploits on becoming an elf are well done. Steve commands the stage running around explaining the different sections of SantaLand and all the weird people he works with and meets every day. He has a touching scene describing a Santa who takes a real interest in the people he meets which shows the softer side to the character. The second show is excellently directed by Wendy Overly who makes Casey use every inch of the stage. Wendy gives Casey's character the nuances necessary for different levels of the script. Casey is brilliant in this role. She is a whirling dervish on the stage and her lines are beautifully delivered. Casey commands the stage at all times and is perfect as Mrs. Dunbar especially funny is the scene where she describes making burlap dresses for her slutty stepdaughter. The comic slides of her family and friends for this show are hilarious and add the needed touches to it. The festive and beautiful sets and costumes are by David Howard. So for a Christmas show with an adult theme to it, be sure to catch Gamm's latest production where you will leave the theater laughing merrily.

"The Santaland Diaries" & Season's Greetings"" (24 November - 24 December)
GAMM THEATRE
172 Exchange Street, PAWTUCKET RI
1 (401) 723-4266

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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