BWW Review: SANTALAND DIARIES is Quick-Witted Holiday Fun
Ringing in the holiday season is Georgetown Palace Theatre and their production of SANTALAND DIARIES. Originally written as an essay by humorist, David Sedaris, it was first read on National Public Radio's Morning Edition in 1992. An instant crowd-pleaser, the essay gave Sedaris his first major break and lead to a much longer version that debuted on-air in 1996. In that same year, Joe Mantello began adapting Sedaris' work into a one-man stage show. The one-act play premiered in on November 7th, 1996 at New York's Atlantic City Theatre Company starring Timothy Olyphant. Since its first initial run, the show has gone on to become a seasonal standard for regional and college theatre.
SANTALAND DIARIES follows the escapades of an aspiring soap star, David (Leslie Hethcox), a man who finds himself working as an elf in a Macy's department store "Santaland." David, also known by his elf name "Crumpet," recounts to the audience his arduous hiring and training process, stories of the colorful characters he encounters, and the sheer madness of wrangling parents and children alike as they await an audience with Saint Nick himself. These tales range from laugh out loud funny to downright offensive, but all ends in an awkwardly endearing manner.
As the lovably cynical and somewhat self-deprecating David/Crumpet, Leslie Hethcox delivers an energetic and engaging performance. Hethcox skillfully inhabits his role of the reluctant elf, as well as the laundry list of diverse characters he meets along the way. From a shallow wannabe starlet to Long Island tough guy, to a wide-eyed child or two, Hethcox commits fully.
Set in the Palace's intimate playhouse theatre, the audience is led through what feels very much like a mall Santa enclosure. Set design and scenic art by director, Jonathan Young and Barb Jernigan respectively, embraces the kitschy side of Christmas in every detail. Large candy cane cutouts, holiday décor, and copious amounts of Christmas lights all add to the campy, but ultimately festive atmosphere.
SANTALAND DIARIES is a quick-witted show full of holiday fun that fully seizes the humor, chaos, and absurdity that only this season brings. Due to language and certain situations it is not suitable for Santa's smallest admires, but this quirky comedy full of blistering humor is perfect for mom, dad, and other "mature elves."
SANTALAND DIARIES is now playing at the Georgetown Palace Playhouse Theatre (817 S. Austin Avenue Georgetown Texas 78626) until December 30th. Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:00pm. Located directly across from the original palace theatre.
Approx. Running Time: Ninety minutes with one ten-minute intermission
Seniors (55+) / Military / Students-$33
**Student Rush Tickets $23 at the door with student ID (if seats are available).
**For Special Needs Seating (Wheelchairs, Walkers, No Stairs, etc.), you must call the Box Office for reservations at (512) 869-7469.