All About Christmas Eve

by Marc Keepper
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Dec 8, 2009
All About Christmas Eve

The Gold Dust Orphans' presentation of All About Christmas Eve proves that some Christmas traditions get better with age. This encore production is tighter, faster and even better than last year's staging.

Any play that features dialogue like "telepathic teenage reindeer in a fur-line bikini" has to be great art, right? No seatbelts are needed; this is far less a bumpy night and far more a funny night at the theater.

All About Eve (1950) is no mere black and white film playing once or twice a year on Turner Classic Movies. Classic or not, the Gold Dust Orphans show no mercy and perform their usual mashup: basic plotline plus drag shtick, outrageous site gags and as many double entendres as double martinis.

A strong Scott Martino/Penny Champayne as Eve looks great and captures Eve's striving hunger and need. The fabulous Afrodite, in the Celeste Holm role, manages to underplay winningly and is paired well with Gene Dante in a funny-if-somewhat-predictable Paul Lynde version of Lloyd, the playwright. Olive Another's take on Birdie has some funny moments. Chris Loftus comports himself well in the straight male role of Bill Simpson, Margo's man who finds himself intrigued with the younger and attentive Eve.

Ryan Landry's take on the Bette Davis role of Margo Channing is practically all shouting and shameless gyrations, but still manages to somehow find Davis' (and his own) tenderness and vulnerability in the role of the aging diva. Landry's gown tossing and over-the-shoulder face-making may be the one time suburban empty nesters (an increasing audience segment) so enjoy a mugging.

Finally, former Gold Dust ingénues Billy Francesca and Ricardo Rodriguez may have finally met their match and their own younger than springtime Eve Harrington. Michael Wood is cute, lithe and talented. This orphan really stood out with Afrodite in the best part of Christmas Eve: the No, No Nativity music and dance sequence.

Without much dialogue, this dumb show (a show within a show enacted without speaking) is anything but dumb. No, No, Nativity efficiently managed to convey Eve's rise to the top and simultaneously make fun of a whole slew of theatrical styles. This is what the Gold Dust Orphans do. This is what still makes them special.

All About Christmas Eve manages to convey a genuine holiday message: getting everything you wished for may still leave you feeling empty without someone to share it. Now just imagine the joke Landry could write to fill that opening.

All about Christmas Eve runs from runs from December 4 - December 27. Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 and Sundays at 5:00 @ Machine, 1254 - 1256 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.

To buy tickets online go to 88711.
For more information visit the Gold Dust Orphans website.

Marc Keepper has been writing about movies, television, theater, sports, books & music-- interviewing DJ’s, singers and producers-- since 1999.

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