James Harley's Unreview
December 2004

James Harley's Unreview of NiA's production of Jeff Goode's THE EIGHT:REINDEER MONOLOGUES

Why all shows don't get published reviews in our papers, I don't know, and am not going to rant about until later. Until then, here's my contribution...UnReview: "Reindeer Monologues"Trustus' late night holiday offering, "The Eight: Reindeer Monologues," is a fun night out. Because of the gimmick-ish structure of the show, it would be very easy for the eight monologues to degenerate into simple stand up comedy routines. Instead, this thoughtful treatment renders a unified whole from the individual parts, presenting a dysfunctional Christmas story that deftly straddles the line between comedy and seriousness. In the course of the show we learn that all is not what it seems in Neverland, oops, I mean the North Pole, and that Santa has some serious questions to answer about what goes on behind the closed workshop doors. Each of the elite "Eight" reindeer pitch in their two cents worth, commenting on how the pressures of life in the reindeer limelight, often subverting their idyllic expectations, have affected their own way of seeing the world. There are, of course, a few slower spots in the production, but the energy is generally very high and the cast does a good job delineating the varying personalities of the deer. They may "all look alike," as Dasher says, but they are very different indeed. There are many fine performances, but standing out in my mind are Kenny the Poet as "Hollywood," who pimps his role masterfully, and Ian Stratton as the slightly jaded, hard drinking Donner. Maxwell Highsmith is right for his role as Dasher, the drill captain of the group, and gets the show started on a good foot. Everything builds toward the introduction of Vixen, and no one is disappointed, as Megan Zieche polishes off the show with a theatrical flair that beckons, in certain moments, to the old-school starlets of the mid century. There is a lot of personality and humor packed into this show, and so it is likely you will find something you like. Remember though, it isn't all comedy, so be prepared for the darker moments. Unfortunately, there are only three performances scheduled, and only one actual late night show remains. So, plan to go either this Tuesday at 7:30, or next Saturday at 11pm. Tickets are $7.50.Anybody else got two cents worth?How about Tiny Tim at Workshop?