Sun-Sentinel - December 1, 2005

A lurid account of life at Santa's in The Eight

By Jack Zink
Theater Writer
Posted December 1 2005

And you thought the Kringles were those nice snowbirds from somewhere up north of Quebec.

Two local theater companies beg to differ, and have revived Jeff Goode's 1993 satire as a perverse alternative to the usual pre-Yuletide diet of A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker.

As the script promises, Santa Claus "has been a walking, talking, holly-jolly sex-crime-waiting-to-happen for years" up at the North Pole compound. Santa is accused of raping the reindeer Vixen, and Rudolph has gone into a psychological funk. A possible strike brews among the reindeer expected to deliver presents throughout the world on Christmas Eve and overnight.

Director Robert Hooker of Fort Lauderdale's Sol Theatre Project delivers a sassy -- and in the case of Vixen herself, provocative -- 75 minutes of burlesque-style counterculture comedy with the show, which opened last weekend and plays through Dec. 18.

(The other production of The Eight, which we haven't seen yet, is by director Jerry Seeger, scheduled to play the next two weekends at the American Heritage Center in Plantation, paired with another one-act called The UnXmas Story.)

Hooker's reindeer speeches are delivered by a motley crew that ranges from the seasoned and unflappable Jim Gibbons (as Dasher and Comet) and Erynn Dalton's shamelessly aggressive Vixen to a series of lurid stereotypes. Not everything in author Goode's litany of holiday jeer gets the kind of sendoff it deserves, but the ensemble's insistent radical humor keeps the show on a fast simmer throughout. Kim Ehly is a radical feminist Blitzen before morphing into Dancer; Angel Perez is egotistical star Hollywood, and the openly gay Cupid; Jeffrey D. Holmes is the sloppy Donner, father of the handicapped Rudolph.

Their monologues, delivered as statements to a press corps hunting down Vixen's story, are made just outside the Claus stables, rendered with much Christmas-y flair in the Sol's tiny space by Hooker, Gibbons and Marc Scott.

Jack Zink can be reached at or 954-356-4706.

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