Written and Produced by Hunter Davis and Francisco Rodriquez
Presented by Debutantes and Vagabonds Theatre Company
Hunter Davis doesn’t much care for Christmas and neither do I, so we were already off to a jolly good start with The Hunter Davis Christmas Special at the Elephant Theatre.
This self-titled and self-referential piece is the on-stage and behind-the-scenes mayhem of a Christmas show gone awry for a holiday that long ago lost its meaning and luster. Performing it in July is your first clue that things are not about to go well. In fact, the examination of utter failure is what Hunter is embracing here; the notion that the past holidays with the most outrageous catastrophes are the ones we remember most often and most fondly.
The show’s host is Hunter Davis, of course, a comical and congenial boy-man of the Dick Van Dyke variety. Hunter is trying to gain control of his own show but failing mightily. The cast is confused, the props are failing and the script has been hijacked. His co-creator, nemesis and sidekick is fellow University of Texas alum Francisco Rodriguez who is adorable and energetic in every scene, even though (or perhaps because) he is supposed to be the Villain.
In short, The Hunter Davis Christmas Special is very, very funny and postmodern in a Pirandello-esque sort of way. What’s especially nice about this production and story line is that you don’t have to pay rapt attention to plots or names or subtext—just sit back and let the laughs wash over you and wait for the next bit. It is more boys club than anything (there are no female characters), but boys are pretty funny. Even the actors who are off on the sidelines and out of the spotlight keep acting, so no matter where you look there’s something interesting going on.
Which makes we wonder—what will Hunter Davis be doing onstage come December? I’ll be there.
You can get tickets online for nearly all small theatre productions at plays411.com or by calling (323) 960-7770.