Are you tired of Christmas shows that urge you to give turkeys to the poor, or lumps of coal to bad children, or sweets to your beloved nutcracker? Are you tired of listening to news about the Islamic State, to partisan battles in Congress about ObamaCare? Do you want to put your hands down and breathe?
Shake your head and giggle at a bad joke or guffaw at a good one?
Well, then Pointless Theatre Company has A Very Pointless Holiday Spectacular for you. But be warned! If hearing about Santa’s sex life is as offensive as hearing about the masturbatory fantasies of Jesus, you might want to seek out more traditional fare.
With an ensemble of six young, talented performers and three equally talented musicians, the Pointless company has whipped together a truly sacrilegious bit of candy-cane fare. It really should have been called a “Christmas” Spectacular as you won’t hear much about Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or “Boxing Day.”
The premise is simple. Every Christmas Eve for the last 238 years (there may be a significance to that number but it’s pointless to wonder why…), while Santa and his reindeer are huffing and puffing around and down chimneys all across the globe, the rest of the residents of the North Pole celebrate their day off with a Talent Show. The retired reindeer pick up their instruments, Mrs. Claus squeezes into her most famous ballroom gown, and the rest of elf-town gather at their elfin Town Hall to put on a show.
Mary Catherine Curran plays Mrs. Claus, the evening’s Mistress of Ceremonies. She gives the First Lady of Christmas a Mae West sexy bawdiness. Her first act antics were marvelous and her big voice a wonder to hear, but during an overlong second act she lost a bit of steam and her focus wandered. Perhaps she was thinking of the long awaited return of her stud-muffin Santa.
Her Elfie Ensemble, however, always came to the rescue in the nick of time. Led by the dancing of Anna Lynch in the role of Nutmeg Silverbery, the multitalented ensemble performed various goof-ball acts spiced with a couple of exquisite skits, a number of rousing songs, and a bit of improvisation.
Ms. Lynch wows the audience at the end of Act One with a short solo aerial acrobatic dance number spiraling from the low Flashpoint ceiling. Later, with partner James Finley who played the somber-minded Chutney Sparklecane, the two dazzle us with their tap dancing talent.
Lee Gerstenhaber plays hyperactive Piper Winderstockings, the leader of the Toy Division of Elftown, but it’s her work as the lackadaisical puppet elephant Stuffy that really stole the show. With her swaying trunk and trumpet breathing we hung on her every languid syllable.
Matthew Sparacino plays Robin Goldencake, whose talent is as a magician–well, not really, but he is a fabulous regurgitater of marshmallows. Also, as the puppeteer animating the Jack-in-the-Box puppet “Dick,” he combines his cherubic face with a husky, manly, dickish voice to great effect.
Madeline Key rounds out the performance ensemble with the role of Cranberry Snowsocks. Not only does she pop marshmallows out of her mouth with great aplomb, but she and Finley’s Sparklecane have the most outrageous skit of the evening, the darkest of funny Christmas lullaby as you’ll hear anywhere.
Aaron Bliden, Deven Mahoney, and Nick Wilby make up the retired reindeer trio and their lively music adds real kick to the evening
Designer Mel Bieler has put together a delightful set for the occasion, and it’s well lit by Navid Azeez. Costumes by Frank Labovitz are pure sugar with a touch of spice, and the puppets of Designers Kyra Corradin and Rachel Menyuk are the icing on the cake.
Co-Directors Frank Cervarich and Lex Davis have done a fine job whipping their cast into a frenzy of goofiness. Now all they have to do to have a really fantastic spectacular is tighten Act II by eliminating all those rather “oh too pointless” dead spots (say 10 minutes worth), because let’s face it, the point is to keep us laughing and delighting on the outrageousness of all things theatre.
And yes this show is outrageously pointless, but don’t worry it’s not pointless to the point of meaning something.
So if you are in for a bit of the bawdy, and don’t mind goof and guffaw, and really don’t see the religion in all this commercial nonsense, then this Holiday Spectacular awaits you through through January 3, 2015 at the Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint – 916 G Street NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, purchase them online.
Running Time: One hour and 40 minutes, with a 15 minute intermission.