Canton Repository - Monday, November 22, 2004

Reindeer dishing dirt on Santa

ON THE BEAT Dan Kane Repository entertainment editor

There's plenty of heartwarming, uplifting family entertainment available during the holiday season.

But what about adults' craving something more cranky and cynical?

Leave the kids at home if you choose to attend "The Eight: Reindeer Monologues," a dark-hued Christmas diversion being offered by the Players Guild in its Arena Theatre just downstairs from "A Christmas Carol."

A comedy by Jeff Goode, "Reindeer Monologues" tells the animals' side of the St. Nick saga. Each reindeer has a chance to tell his or her version of things at the North Pole and it's not pretty.

"They're not the happy little team that they've been depicted to be. There's all these sordid allegations flying around about the jolly fat guy," director Margene Rannigan says.

"It's very, very twisted, man, but it's funny too."

Blitzen is a tough women's rights activist. Prancer is a frustrated actor. Vixen is an angry, alleged abuse victim. Cupid is the only openly gay flier on the team, although he claims there are others.

Comet alone remains loyal to Santa, who saved his life after he was shot during a liquor-store holdup.

Rannigan cautions that the edgy show is for adults only. "It puts the X in Xmas," she says with a chuckle.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. Dec. 6 through 8 and 13 through 15. Tickets will be $8 at the door. For information, call the Players Guild at (330) 453-7619.