note: entire contents copyright 2002 by Larry Stark
Written and Performed by
Jan Davidson, John Kuntz, Rick Park, Julie Perkins
Directed by Curt Miller
Set Design by April Bartlett
Costume Design by Nicole Lyons
Lighting Design by Darren Evans
Sound Design & Original Music by Rick Brenner
Stage Manager Dawn DesLauriers
In this holiday season, which brings a lot more of the theater-illiterati than usual out for a good time, one of the surest ways to get a laugh is to put dirty words in the mouths of Santa Claus, children, or the Holy Family. What, for instance, would Santa say in response to "Letters to Santa" if he were shocked by his dwindling 401K and elves and reindeer on strike, and ready to shoot from the lip? There's some of that here, and a lot of campy cross-dressing (also an easy laugh), plus bits of sketch-writing and comic Acting that are the best you can find anywhere.
Take a sketch called "All I Want for Christmas..." written by John Kuntz. It starts with what only looks like a department-store Santa --- Rick Park --- furtively sitting in a darkened restaurant corner and trying to disguise himself with a false-nose-and-glasses. He's there to break off his extra-marital affair, and when his co-respondant wafts in she is Julie Perkins as The Tooth Fairy, whose eventual irate litany of woes ends "...and my wings are killing me today!"
There is also brilliant parody here, written for all four: Rick Park's is a tight but gloriously complete send-up of the t-v cliche in "Santa's Angels"; John Kuntz' entry here is "All about Xmas Eve" playing out all the details of that classic movie, except that the protagonists are all grade-school actresses clawing for parts in the school Christmas Pageant (with Park as Addison deWitt playing the rear end of the donkey.)
Jan Perkins wrote for herself a monologue ("I Saw Mommy Killing Santa Claus") in which the sight of "those sooty boots tromping over My Perfect Carpet!" proves the last straw. Park wrote a charming slice-of-lowlife ("Santer Baby") giving the other three a chance to rev up their Southie accents. Kuntz as a lounge singer manque sings a devastating parody the refrain of which is "And I don't Remember Christmas (And I don't remember you!)".
And for the finale Rick Park (whose legs in spike heels put 90% of every audience to shame) served up a rowdy pre-teen slumber party for this dead-on quartet that balances the desire to stand out with a teen's pressure to conform. As in each bit, the material is varied and speaks to several tastes, but the performances are uniformly excellent. There is an insult-skit and a stand-up, but this quartet leaps into, and deeply into, character as quickly as they do costumes. They are vivid individuals, and they work together flawlessly. The one common denominator for all of them is a bright complicit smile that shares with the audience an awareness of wit and fun.