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Review: THE FLIGHT BEFORE XMAS from Macha Theatre Works

Review: THE FLIGHT BEFORE XMAS from Macha Theatre Works

A delightful look at families of all kinds at the holidays.

Review: THE FLIGHT BEFORE XMAS from Macha Theatre Works
The cast of The Flight Before Xmas
from Macha Theatre Works.
Photo credit: Joe Iano

Dear Readers, we all know that travelling during the holidays can be a nightmare. Delayed flights, family drama, not to mention dealing with others attempting their own travels. But as frustrating as it can be, what's not frustrating is the delightful cast of characters created by Maggie Lee in her play, "The Flight Before Xmas". A wonderful and heartfelt diversion from the usual holiday fare currently playing at West of Lenin from Macha Theatre Works.

Welcome to Gate B10 at SeaTac International Airport. For all of you waiting for Flight 325 to San Francisco, well, it's been delayed due to the snow. But hang tight as various types of holiday travelers try to make the most of it. We have the family on their way to Hawaii for Christmas (Cordelia Carranza, Maggie Carrido, Laurence Hughes, and Lillian Morris), two pairs of kids trying to get through spending time with divorced parents in different cities (Lila Bahng, Izzy Rampersad, Moira Ellis, and Alexandra Poisel), a lesbian couple about to spend their first holiday with some conservative parents (Andreya Pro and Lexi Warden), a business woman desperate to make the meeting of her career (Cassandra León), a high maintenance Grandmother (Shelley Douma) off to see her new Grandson, and a man (James Lyle) trying to make the most of a lonely Christmas. And all these disparate types of families are being herded by the harried gate attendant Penny (Katherine Oberg). With delay after delay, some useless meal vouchers, and a wandering cat, Lee has created an unexpectedly sweet piece as this motley crew tries to get on the last flight out of town before they miss Christmas all together.

Seattle audiences may know Lee from her other wonderful Sci-Fi pieces such as "The Clockwork Professor", "The Tumbleweed Zephyr", and "A Hand of Talons" but that doesn't mean she can't handle a light family dramedy. The key to her shows' success comes out in her rich and complex characters and her fantastic dialog and that is certainly present in "The Flight Before Xmas". Her stories flow along so beautifully, never feeling forced or clunky. And this lovely story looking at how different people connect at the holidays will certainly touch anyone who's not a mean ole Grinch. I'll admit to getting all misty by the end.

The show as directed by Lia Sima Fakhouri flows quite well and coming in at only 75 minutes started off a bit low energy but picked up quickly and never felt like it didn't know where it wanted to go. And that pace is largely due to Fakhouri's wonderful direction of a never stale or static piece from Lee.

Review: THE FLIGHT BEFORE XMAS from Macha Theatre Works
Katherine Oberg in The Flight Before Xmas
from Macha Theatre Works.
Photo credit: Joe Iano

The entire ensemble cast is fantastic with some stellar stand out performances. Lyle as the well-traveled Douglas brings in a quiet strength to his character and when he launches into his tales of Christmas from foreign lands, you can't help but be riveted. Douma as the curmudgeonly Rosemary manages a thoroughly unlikeable character that you switch over to empathize with by the end. Oberg as the beleaguered gate keeper of Sun Spot Airlines, takes on the role with humor, heart and a ton of stage presence. And I must mention the younger actors in the piece who were solid throughout especially Bahng and Rampersad who were completely present and in the moment at all times making them a delight to watch.

This piece is certainly not the usual Christmas tale but maybe it should be as it examines how the differences in all make us not so different when it comes down to being together and connecting with our loved ones. And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give Macha Theatre Works "The Flight Before Xmas" a sweet sigh of a YAY. There are plenty of holiday diversions out there and this one will send you off on your own holiday adventures with a smile in your heart.

Macha Theatre Works production of "The Flight Before Xmas" performs at West of Lenin through December 23rd. For tickets or information visit them online at www.machatheatreworks.com.



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         Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Jay has been a theater geek for years.  He attends as many shows as he can around the country and loves taking in new exciting... (read more about this author)


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Review: THE FLIGHT BEFORE XMAS from Macha Theatre WorksReview: THE FLIGHT BEFORE XMAS from Macha Theatre Works
December 4, 2022

Dear Readers, we all know that travelling during the holidays can be a nightmare. Delayed flights, family drama, not to mention dealing with others attempting their own travels. But as frustrating as it can be, what’s not frustrating is the delightful cast of characters created by Maggie Lee in her play, “The Flight Before Xmas”. A wonderful and heartfelt diversion from the usual holiday fare currently playing at West of Lenin from Macha Theatre Works.

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