Review: It's Double the Holiday Fun at the Ooley Theatre With Two Special Christmas Shows

Mississippi Motel and A Naughty Christmas Night Run For Two Nights Only

By: Dec. 16, 2022
Review: It's Double the Holiday Fun at the Ooley Theatre With Two Special Christmas Shows
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An evening of cozy Christmas entertainment is what's in store this weekend at the Ooley Theatre with two special productions by local playwrights. You will not want to miss this unique two-for-one opportunity, as it runs for only two nights. The reflective Mississippi Motel is followed by a fun and risqué sketch, A Naughty Christmas Night.

The lighthearted piece of this duet is the screenplay of an adult version of the classic Christmas poem, "The Night Before Christmas." Written by local screenwriter Sharon Perpignani and adapted for the stage by Elise M. Hodge, A Naughty Christmas Night trades kerchiefs, caps, and reindeer for booze, boxers, and boobs. Combative narrators tell the story of a family who completely bypassed the Polar Express for a one-way ticket on the Hot Mess Express, with a stop on the roof to raise such a clatter. Dickensian decorum wars with the dad's bod in a bid to see who can get the most verbiage (and middle fingers) out to an audience equally amused and amazed at this mash-up between "Jackass," "Christmas Vacation," and Clement Clarke Moore's holiday staple. The human cat sums up the merriment emanating from the stage, "Merry Christmas to all and we hope you enjoy this ridiculous distraction."

Conversely, the substance of the evening comes in the form of Tim Foley's Mississippi Motel. "America's Got Talent" winner Brandon Leake brings his heart to the role of Johnny Earl Duke, a formerly successful recording artist who went down the wrong path. Local favorite Brooklynn T. Solomon plays his codependent sidepiece, an earnest and needy dreamer named Dina. Emotional dialogue conveys the desperation to go back to a simpler time on Dina's part, as Solomon delivers her wrenching, yet matter-of-fact, observation, "We're out of drugs, we're out of money, we're out of luck." Although we root for Dina to make her luck (and escape) the entire show, can she outrun her addictions and Johnny's silver tongue? Both artists paint a sympathetic portrait of how easy it is to turn down the path of addiction and how quickly one can lose everything they've ever held dear, but also how quickly a glimmer of hope can turn into a bright ray of possibilities, especially on Christmas Eve.

EMH Productions/The Artist's Collective is performing both shows at the Ooley Theatre on December 16 and 17 at 8 p.m. Tickets may be found at More information may be found at

Photo credit: Elise Hodge