KPBS AIRDATE: December 20, 2002
This year, there are a number of acidic alternatives to the treacly sweetness of the usual holiday fare. Returning to the Globe is “The SantaLand Diaries,” the now-famous monologue that the cynically hilarious David Sedaris first aired on NPR. Arnie Burton isn’t the whiny-voiced Sedaris, but he’s darn funny as the deliciously nasty Macy’s elf.
Another delightfully wicked holiday offering is “Reckless,” and the 6th @ Penn production just about nails the absurd, farcical tone of the Craig Lucas play. It all starts out warm and fuzzy, until the terminally euphoric Rachel finds that her husband has taken out a contract on her life; she escapes out the window in her nightgown and slippers, and begins an oddball odyssey that careens from reality to fantasy with neck-snapping speed. The chameleon cast of seven tackles 17 eccentric characters with hilarity. Rick Stevens makes an uproarious return to the local stage, and Lisel Gorell-Getz is irresistible as the hapless central character whose life is turned topsy-turvy, and who learns a thing or two about relationship, identity and the fickle finger of fate.
Hans Christian Andersen’s “Little Match Girl” is making a comeback on two San Diego stages. Her tale is the sole focus of a touching Youth Theatre production at North Coast Repertory Theatre, where adorable and talented 6th grader Emily Ratajkowski is superbly paired with the warm and avuncular “TJ” Johnson.
At Lamb’s Players Theatre, the sad story of the abused little match girl selling her puny wares on a freezing Christmas eve is danced in the newest edition of the “Festival of Christmas.” Arielle and Pamela Turner do a heart-wrenching, mother-daughter pas de deux that gracefully illustrates the sorrowful ending, where the young girl is reunited with her dead grandmother. This year’s Lambs’ “Festival” play by writer-director Kerry Meads’ is a darker-than-usual story-with-music set in an uptown urban renewal alley, where the homeless brush up against wealthy do-gooders. The play is flawed, with characters and plotlines left unresolved, but the singing is splendid, the set is striking and there are some wonderful performances, notably, Cris O’Bryon as a humorously sarcastic singer/pianist and Karen Ann Daniels as an ever-insightful neighborhood bag-lady.
You see? There’s something for every theatrical taste and preference this holiday season. And while you’re in the spirit, why not give the gift of theater? — with GiftTix, performing arts gift certificates good at over 60 venues throughout the county. You’ll find them at sandiegoperforms.com…. Add a little drama to your loved ones’ lives… and have a Happy Holiday!
©2002 Patté Productions Inc.