Columbus Dispatch - December 5, 2002

Thursday, December 5, 2002

Michael Grossberg


Reindeer monologues

Oh, deer: Dasher, Cupid, Prancer, Blitzen, Comet, Dancer, Donner and Vixen have their darkly comic say in The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, and what they say will forever alter one's image of Santa Claus.

Ruefully funny, cynical, bawdy, irreverent and satirically subversive in its allegations of sexual harassment in Santa's workplace, Jeff Goode's loosely linked monologues are unsuitable for anyone (young or old) who believes in Santa Claus.

Act Out Productions and Interweave's well-cast, well-performed show, which opened last weekend, will entertain and satisfy the curiosity of those who have wondered about the full performance piece after enjoying occasional excerpts at Shadowbox Cabaret (Dasher) and 2Co's Cabaret (Prancer).

Among the most charming performers: Amy Bennett, a ditzy Dancer with poignant undercurrents; Andy Scahill, a Cupid with finger-snapping attitude; Richard Napoli, a rueful Comet; and Juliette McCawley, a seductive but fierce Vixen.

Michael Parsons opens the evening with a low-key performance as Dasher, the most macho reindeer. Perhaps because Shadowbox's antic Jimmy Mak has made Dasher one of his signature roles, it takes a while to appreciate and adjust to Parson's greater subtlety and psychological realism.

Under Dale Gregory's assured direction, the solid cast establishes convincingly skewed reality that says a lot more about the ups and downs of modern life than North Pole fantasies.

Performances, recommended for mature audiences because of profanity and sexual situations, continue at 8 tonight and Saturday at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 93 Weisheimer. Tickets cost $15. For more information, call 614-876-0223.