Memphis Mojo - December 18, 2004

Circuit’s ‘Reindeer’ get their shots in on that Santa guy

Mojo theater review
By Shannon Parker

If you want to go see a bizarro twist on the Christmas season, you only have a few days left.  The play, The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, written by Jeff Goode, is a show that doesn’t leave you with that feeling of good tidings and cheer – nor is it supposed to.  The play is literally a series of monologues focused on ‘The Eight’ (being the eight main reindeer who pull Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve) which go from one extreme to another.

The story centers around Santa Claus and what he did or did not do to Vixen.  Each reindeer has his or her own opinion and his or her own agenda.  Dasher, played by Matthew Hoffberg, is Mr. Military.  He is, was and always has been the first reindeer … other than that fateful day when Rudolph got to lead the team.  Cupid, Evan Linder, is the only openly gay reindeer, although “there are others.”  Hollywood, a.k.a. Prancer, played by Brian Mott, is only concerned with himself and his ‘acting career.’  Blitzen, Courtney Oliver, is a feminist.  Comet, played by Ron Ernst, is the only ‘pro-Santa’ deer on the team.  He’s a reformed druggy deer and Santa once saved his life.  Dancer, played by Megan Bowers is a Jewish former ballet instructor who flits around the stage and her ‘interview’ because she doesn’t want to have to focus too much on reality.  Donner, Jonathon Lamer, is Rudolph’s dad and a loser.  And last, but not least, is Vixen, Joanna Lipman, the crux of the whole tale – was she or wasn’t she?

This play is not for the faint of heart … there are references to Santa’s ‘willy,’ which he has had tattooed to, when turgid, look just like him.  Mrs. Claus is an alcoholic who, last year, showed up to the Christmas party wearing nothing but gold paint, pasties and a screaming elf as a thong.  And it just goes on in that same genre.  Despite all that, the story does have a point and the actors do a good job with their individual times on the stage. 

(The Eight: Reindeer Monologues runs through Dec. 19 at Circuit Playhouse.   8 p.m.,Friday and Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday.)