There’s something about raunchy elves and an over the top Mrs. Claus as a potty-mouthed, grind-worthy, well-endowed and knows how to flaunt it M.C. that tickles even if the actual jokes aren’t that funny. Mrs. Claus and her cheerful cadre of talented elves brighten the holidays working with what they’ve got, which from a very Pointless perspective is all that any of us can do, so Ho Ho Ho to their effort.
Holiday tradition in this alternate Santa Land means throwing an extravaganza on the only day off, Christmas Eve, after naughty-nice lists have been checked and toys and goodies are on their way. Mary Catherine Curran as Madame Claus swigs from her ever-present boozy-bottle, staying just tipsy enough to speak her uncensored mind while introducing the acts and zing off zingers about what goes on under-the-bedsheets with the big guy. She stays in command of the show rather than lapsing in a drunken stupor which keeps everything teetering on this side of acceptability. The show is edgy but with better material could be razor sharp.
The elves strive to keep the self-written sketches as bouncy as the ladies’ festive crinoline skirts, and they work as a tight ensemble clad in flaming red and green costumes with decorative vests, black and white ringed tights, and funny elf-inspired hats, thanks to designer Frank Labovitz. James Finley, Lee Gerstenhaber, Madeline Key and Matthew Sparacino stay in character, tumble and play off of each other with squeaky high-pitched voices and playful antics.
Several puppets designed by Kyra Corradin and Rachel Menyuk add to the fractured reality, “Stuffy” the elephant, a hot robot-like chick Dolly, and a rather loud, obnoxious distasteful penile-apparatus, appropriately named Dick share their take on life and coupling. Their characters added some levity to the evening, but again, without much punch, even with Dolly’s light-up chest. The consistent crowd-pleaser, as bright as Rudolph’s shiny nose, was the Funky Reindeer Band directed by Aaron Bliden on keyboard, talented guitarist Nick Wilby, and founding company member Devin Mahoney who pumped out soulful arrangements of Christmas tunes for a rocking Winter Wonderland good time.
A VERY POINTLESS HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR
Closes January 3, 2015
916 G St NW
2 hours, 1 intermission
Details and Tickets
Organized as a variety show with musical numbers and comedy sketches, the first act includes bogus magic tricks and bits about preparing for the Holiday. There’s also a contrived chorus by a couple succumbing to a lullaby about death, damnation and the inevitability of an infant languishing in Hell– uncomfortable snickers await that one. The talented Anna Lynch as Nutmeg ended the act as a twirling aerialist wrapped in sheer white draping twisted around her arms and legs, coiling herself up, spinning around, and flipping over into acrobatic positions. Nothing else reached that level of delight, including several uninspired breaks for the “Jolly Ranger Candy Cane” sponsors. The second act’s extended bits of improvisation actually ended up being more enjoyable than expected because the talented performers delivered funnier material on the spot than the canned jokes.
When the shopping season goes into excruciating high gear, and what’s needed is a raucously uncensored, high flying, off the cuff, unsanctimonious riff on everything Christmas, this might be the show to catch.
Pointless Theatre’s young creative team sold out the house with Sleeping Beauty and Minnie the Moocher and won the 2014 John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company. They are a force to keep an eye on, including their Spring production, Doctor Caligari, which will likely sell out, so come early and often—I swear they’ll have a better script.
A Very Pointless Holiday Spectacular . Co-Directed by Frank Cervarich and Lex Davis . Produced by Pointless Theatre Company . Reviewed by Debbie Minter Jackson.
A VERY POINTLESS HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR
Closes Jan 3
Kevin Smith . MDTheatreGuide At times, the production abruptly switches modes, and becomes something closer to a late night talk show, with Mrs. C sitting and cracking jokes with a trio of eccentric puppets.
Celia Wren . Washington Post the actors appear to be enjoying themselves hugely, as is the case throughout this production. After all, theater is sometimes ambitious and memorable, but sometimes it’s just for fun.
Madison Kaigh . BroadwayWorld a fresh, fun choice for grown-up entertainment this holiday season. Just make sure not to sit in the Department of Finance.
Robert Michael Oliver . DCMetroTheaterArts this show is outrageously pointless, but don’t worry it’s not pointless to the point of meaning something.