Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Xmas Files"

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note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Beverly Creasey

Deranged Merriment Reigns
at CentaStage

Reviewed by Beverly Creasey

Blast away those holiday blahs with a nifty dose of cynicism from CentaStage this December. Their "Xmas Files" celebrates the bizarre: From the timeless allure of a man in uniform by Josh White (this twisted tale of holiday sexual obsession will tickle your funnybone: "Ho Ho Ho") to Jan Davidson's boisterously blasphemous "interview with a Virgin", "The Xmas Files" amazes and delights.

The 'amazing' comes in the form of a deranged rhyming scheme in Russell Lees' demented cross between a miracle play and a Shakespearean Saturday Night Live shepherd-skit called "The Shepherds Play". The 'delight' comes from Pat Gabridge's loony love story, "Christmas Breaks", from George Sauer's deliciously maddening attempt at ordering the obligatory fruitcake ("Fruitcakes Are Coming to Town") and from Dean O'Donnell's hilarious sendup of those inane insurance ads (:Oh, Henry"). Just when you think Davidson has mined all the scandalously silly stuff she could think of from the Gospels, she's back with more!

Curt Miller's zany cast will keep you in stitches (with short respites for cooing over Brian Abascal sweet substitute suitor/and gasping over Nathaniel McIntyre's wacky pratfalls wrangling with livestock) Helen McIlwain again proves she's master of the absurd and Jan Davidson finally gets a crown as queen of the deadpan. Dennis Paton and Richard LaFrance manage to bring down the house without saying a word in Joe Antoun and Miller's scene filler abort men's room directions. In short, if you're in need of a valium this Christmas, skip the pharmaceuticals and head for CentaStage instead.

"The Xmas Files" (7 - 23 December)
Black Box Theater, Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Avenue, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 426-2787 .

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide