BWW Review: THE SANTALAND DIARIES at The Whisenhunt At ZACH
After last year's successful return, THE SANTALAND DIARIES is back with J. Robert "Jimmy" Moore starring as Crumpet the Elf under the masterful direction of Nat Miller.
What was once an essay based on David Sedaris' personal experiences working as an elf at Macy's during the Holiday season, has developed into a witty and irreverent portrayal of human behavior at this time of the year. Adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello, THE SANTALAND DIARIES follows the misadventures of an out-of-work actor who finds himself applying to be an elf at a major department store in New York City. After getting the job and going through countless hours of training, costuming, and orientation, he becomes Crumpet the Elf. Crumpet turns to humor and cynicism as he tries to juggle with not-so-sober Santas, over-the-top parents, vomiting children, and magnificent tantrums.
The Whisenhunt at ZACH provides a perfect setting for this one-man show and Mr. Moore makes use of every inch of that space. He artfully interacts with the audience, drawing from their energy and laughter, to deliver one of the most entertaining performances I have seen in decades. There is an intimacy to the space, designed by J. Aaron Bell, that makes the audience an accomplice to sarcastic storytelling, and as such, we shamelessly laugh as Crumpet impersonates the several characters that visit Santaland. We nod in agreement as he retells the adventures of the day with the most politically incorrect undertones, and we feel little guilt when the elf reaches the end of the season without a shred of Holiday Spirit left. In one of the most memorable moments of the show, Mr. Moore shows us the truth behind Crumpet's cynicism. He would much rather be singing show tunes than getting paid to be one of Santa's helpers, although the latter is what pays the bills.
David Sedaris' hysterical and contemptuous work in THE SANTALAND DIARIES is delivered through the skillful artistic collaboration between J. Robert "Jimmy" Moore and Nat Miller. Be prepared to laugh uncontrollably from beginning to end in a play that if not in the list of your Holiday traditions, it should be!
THE SANTALAND DIARIES
When: Now playing through December 29, 2019
Where: The Whisenhunt at ZACH | 1510 Toomey Road | Austin, TX | 78704
Tickets: Start at $40 available at ZACH's box office - (512) 476-0541 x1, zachtheatre.org
Duration: 75 minutes with no intermissions
Age Recommendation: Fourteen and up for adult humor