Chicago Tribune - December 14, 2007

Have yourself a merry anti-Christmas

By Nina Metz | Special to the Tribune

Enough already with the sappy holiday stuff, right? Even the nicest person could use a change from all that peace-on-earth and good-will-to-all. And so for those nights when a dash of something transgressive is more your style, there are plenty of area theater options that give seasonal joy a good tweaking -- and are definitely not for the kids.

'7 Santas' Through Dec. 30 at the Bailiwick Arts Center, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets are $25 at 773-883-1090.

Playwright Jeff Goode takes another whack at Christmas (his first was the "The Eight: Reindeer Monologues") by sticking Santa -- actually, seven versions of the guy -- in a 12-step program at the North Pole. The show's first half is deft and funny, as Goode's Santas deconstruct the pumped-up fable of old St. Nick. But things get very dark (and kind of gross) in the second half. If you like bitters with your eggnog, it's worth checking out.

WHOM THIS WILL OFFEND: Santa is all but called out as a serial rapist here, so we're guessing just about everyone.