Holiday Spirits Review – Fresh Twist on Christmas Classics
A good Christmas play is heartfelt. An excellent Christmas play is heartfelt and hilarious. When you step through the doors of the intimate setting of the Scripps Theatre playhouse with theater style seating you are immediately drawn into the set. .The home of a couple decorated for Christmas. Homey and comfortable. With Christmas carols playing softly in the background. And a slightly off balance Christmas tree set up mid-stage.
When the play opens the husband comes in struggling with a giant cardboard cutout of Elvis that lights up with blue Christmas lights. Elvis and Christmas what do those things have in common? The husband is a huge Elvis fan. and it's Christmas Eve. That's where the story begins.
Then the wife enters the picture and begins packing things into boxes. The couple is divorcing, it's Christmas Eve and a realtor is coming by in awhile to show the house to prospective buyers. The couple bicker back and forth until the electricity suddenly goes out. That's when the fun begins. The wife goes to check on the breakers.
While she's gone a very young Elvis appears to the husband and tells him he will visited by three couples that night. Sounding familiar? First is the appearance of a lady dressed like Mother Christmas who they take as the realtor. Followed by the first duo,. a young Goth couple. Next we have the guru and his disciple, and last the older Jewish couple. Elvis also makes three appearances. Aging progressively in each subsequent visit.
Holiday Spirits is a mash-up of Christmas Carol, It's a wonderful Life, and O'Henry's Gift of The Magi.
The end is somewhat predictable. But isn't that also what we want in a good Christmas tale. To feel the warmth and comfort of hearth and home.
The play is filled with colorful characters and is a riot. A laugh a minute.
Holiday Spirits consisted of nine cast members who played their roles to perfection. Kevin Six and Bobbie Heiland who played the All-American older divorcing couple. J. Tyler Jones, Ben Cole and Haig Koshkarian who played not only versions of Elvis but the significant others in one of the couples. Maelyn Gondola and Sara Lynn Andrzejewski who both played double roles. And last but certainly not least the extremely funny D'AnnPaton as the realtor.
This was the World premier for Holiday Spirits and the writer director Jim Caputo said in a Q and A afterwords that six weeks ago he handed the cast a hundred page script and by tonight only two pages remained unchanged. He gave full credit to his incredible cast for pulling off what is sure to become a Christmas classic in it's own right. Caputo also said he is not an Elvis fan. Which is hard to believe if you watch the play.
Holiday Spirits playing at the Scripps Ranch Theatre November 10th through December 9, 2012.
Performance location Legler Benbough Theatre Alliant International University