City Beat - December 5-11, 2002

Polar Shenanigans
Reindeer Monologues is naughty and entertaining


If we can take a break from our collective whining about the Creative Class exodus for a moment and walk over to Carol's on Main. Look skyward and you'll see that there is, in fact, a "Creative Class" living and working here. Plush, the lounge above the restaurant, presents a wide variety of entertainment for those who are interested and, dare I say, open enough to support it.

Latest is Queen City Off Broadway's excruciatingly funny The Eight: Reindeer Monologues. True to its Off Broadway moniker and cabaret setting, the production takes a sparse approach to an over-the-top premise. Rudolf, of the illuminating proboscis, and Vixen, Russ Meyer's idea of a reindeer, have a bone to pick with the Jolly old Elf - pun intended. It seems Santa has been joining in his own reindeer games. Rudolf isn't present, confined to an institution. The remaining reindeer, each have their own slant on Santa's arraignment for first-degree sexual harassment. Along the way we find that years of isolation at the North Pole with only elves as companions has taken its toll on Mrs. Claus, not to mention said elves. There is one openly gay reindeer, Cupid, though he is quick to add that he is not alone. It seems there are closets in the barn.

This is a well-acted, terribly naughty and thoroughly entertaining evening, The Eight: Reindeer Monologues embodies the freeform, sly, take-it-or-leave-it attitude of Off Broadway theatre.

Each of the reindeer is fantastic but Matthew Pyle as Donner, Rudolf's dad, is so good, it's scary. He plays the part with such incredible sincerity that we forget, for an instant that this is a man with felt antlers and a pinned-on tail, trying to rationalize pimping his deformed reindeer son. He never lets up. No nudge-nudge, wink-wink ... and that's why it's so funny.

Director Lyle Benjamin, has helped his cast find all the outrageous, tasteless, humor in this Jeff Goode script and even peppered the evening with vocals by Natalie Bolan.

THE EIGHT: REINDEER MONOLOGUES, presented by Queen City Off Braodway, continues through Saturday.