Wednesday, October 12, 2011
It's an unavoidable fact of holiday entertainment: Christmas went dirty years ago. Come mistletoe time in most big cities, you can't throw a snowball without hitting a supposedly irreverent Christmas-themed staging. But it's equally true that raunchy Santas, drunken family gatherings and turkey-centered mishaps mostly fall flat on the stage. Last winter, though, Kansas Citians got an unexpected present with White Nose Christmas: A Tabloid Nativity of Rehab and Rebirth. The good ideas started with the play's holiday-proof setting: a Hollywood peopled by strung-out former stars, now so calloused and scarred that no Christmas miracle could ever pull its head out of the eggnog bowl. We were hooked from the moment one such jaded former star calls for bail money by saying she's in "the jail by the great Mexican restaurant." Grim! Writer-performers Heidi Van, Bess Wallerstein and David Wayne Reed deserve year-round kudos for this tragicomic hot mess. They also deserve a bigger audience if they revive the thing this year. During one Sunday performance, there were only five people in attendance. The cast killed it anyway, proving that it really is better to give than to receive.