Santasia – A Holiday Comedy
Reviewed by Neal Weaver
The Whitefire Theatre
Through December 25
The creators of Santasia, Shaun and Brandon Loeser, have been serving up their particular brand of zany, snarky holiday cheer for 16 years —this year makes 17 — but time hasn’t mellowed them and they haven’t lost their edge. They’re just as goofy and anarchic as ever —and just as hilarious. And they provide a welcome antidote to all the sticky holiday sweetness and light that seems to be unavoidable in December.
The show consists of some 24 sketches skewering such topical matters as re-gifting, unwelcome presents (Mom is less than thrilled with Dad’s gift of a Swiffer), and squabbles over Christmas dinner. The show gets underway with a film parody about love among the cowboys called Brokeback Igloo. This is followed by a murderous snowball fight played out to the pounding rhythms of Carmina Burana. In Hark, a herald angel is non-plussed when the three wise men prove to be on the no-harking list. Joseph and Mary are guests on Jerry Springer, and a frustrated kid goes after Santa Claus with a baseball bat when, for the third year in a row, he doesn’t get the blue bike he asked for. And a hot-to-trot young woman finds a fling with Frosty the Snowman has definite draw-backs.
As director, Shaun Loeser keeps the action fast and frenetic, and the cast of six (the two Loesers, Lon Gowan, Darren Mangler, Tony Nunes, and Jim O’Brien) prove their athletic prowess and their versatility playing scores of elves, reindeer, polar bears, wise men, women, kids and angels. Tania L. Pearson-Loeser provides the choreography, and Stacey Quinealty is the musical director. The handsome Christmas-tree bedecked set is credited to Shaun Loeser.
The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 3 & 8 p.m., Thurs., Dec. 22, 8 p.m. Tickets: www.santasia.com. Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission.