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The Santaland Diaries (2005)

a Holiday Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by David Sedaris

COMPANY : Horizon Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Horizon Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
ID# 1454

SHOWING : November 25, 2005 - January 01, 2006

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

A fiendishly exhilarating, politically incorrect send-up of the holidays.”-Creative Loafing

Horizon reprises the outrageous holiday hit comedy written by NPR comic genius David Sedaris. Harold M. Leaver stars as Crumpet, the ultimate merry misanthrope. This rebel without a Claus recounts the true-life tale of his stint as a Macy's Department Store elf. Also starring Marcie Millard and Bradley Bergeron.


CAST & CREW LIST
Sidekick Brad Bergeron
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REVIEWS

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Recycling
by Dedalus
Thursday, December 22, 2005
5.0
In the spirit of the “It worked last year, so why not beat it into the ground” planning style of most theater companies (and, to be fiscally responsible, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that style), and since, to its credit, my reaction to “The Santaland Diaries” was just as pleasant this year as last, I’ll recycle last year review. As usual, the secretary disavows all knowledge of the cast replacements (and really really regrets the inability of this site to use the strikethrough font format).

For the Umpteenth year, Horizon is presenting Harold M. Leaver as Crumpet, the Macy’s Elf in David Sedaris’ “The Santaland Diaries.” This was my second visit, and I must say, I once again had a laugh-out-loud, incredibly good time.

Written as a monologue, Horizon makes the excellent choice of adding two Protean Character actors, Marcie Millard and Bradley Bergeron, to take on a plethora of one-note roles to support Mr. Leaver’s Crumpet. The penchant for schtick that sometimes undercuts many one-note performances, is here the perfect device to quickly present character, nuance, and laughter, all with the same over-the-top gesture or expression. Ms. Millard and Mr. Bergeron have has enormous fun with the wide range of stuff demanded of them.

But it’s Harold Leaver who really sells this show. On stage for the entire 90 minutes of the play, he must interact with the audience, with his costars (who, more often than not, lose in a silent scene-stealing battle of upstaging schtick), and with the witty words Mr. Sedaris has put in his mouth. Sedaris is famous for his short pieces of whimsy, designed to celebrate eccentricity, finding humor in the darkest of places (a reading of this play's companion piece, "Season’s Greetings,” will show just how dark he can get), but ultimately, making us like the characters he so thoroughly skewers. Crumpet and his story fully embodies every irritation we experience during the Holidays, without losing the sense of fun that compels even the most irreligious of us to celebrate it. There is even a moment at the end that threatens (almost) to fall into the sentimentality that overwhelms most Christmas Theatre fare, reminding us that even this has its place (if not for too long).

Yes, this show is a Christmas cynic’s delight. It is also filled with a good will towards its characters that so many pundits seem to be losing this year. (I'd like to know when anger and bitterness towards someone wishing you a "Happy Holiday" became part of "Good Will Towards Men" -- but I digress). I strongly urge you to visit (or revisit) Crumpet before it’s too late.

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)


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