Miami ARTzine
December 15, 2008

Theatre Review: The Eight: Reindeer Monologues

By Mary Damiano on December 15, 2008 10:40 AM

Reindeer Games
Twisted tale lets Santa's team speak their minds

By Mary Damiano

A wicked irony runs through The Eight: Reindeer Monologues from the very first moment, when Donner (Julia Clearwood) arrives on the scene wearing leopard print stilettos, carrying a matching purse--there's something about a reindeer wearing leopard that feels downright cannibalistic.

But that's the nature of the show, now being mounted by the Sol Theatre in Fort Lauderdale. The Eight: Reindeer Monologues by Jeff Goode is a twisted tale that examines an alleged sex crime at the North Pole, perpetuated by the jolly old elf himself. Now the eight elite reindeer who pull Santa's sleigh are divided on the issue that just might cancel Christmas.

One by one, the reindeer take the stage to give their side of the story about Vixen's accusations toward Santa and what happened to poor, mentally challenged Rudolph, currently catatonic in his padded cell. What emerges isn't exactly a picture print by Currier and Ives.

Jim Gibbons plays Dasher, a kilt-wearing Scots-deer, as well as Comet, a juvenile deer-linquent who credits Santa for reforming him. Angel Perez plays Hollywood (formerly known as Prancer) as a coke-snorting, manic star bitter about Rudolph stealing his spotlight; and Cupid, as the openly gay reindeer who doesn't mind feeling the crack of Santa's whip.

Clearwood is hysterical pulling triple duty as Rudolph's mom, Donner, as well as Blitzen, the militant feminist calling for the reindeer to go on strike, and Dancer, the reindeer who tells of her surprise of discovering that her job required her to work holidays.

Daivd Tarryn-Grae dons drag to play Vixen, the most infamous reindeer of all. Wearing a clingy red evening gown and looking for all the world like he's taken the stage to impersonate some 1940s movie star, Tarryn-Grae brings an unexpected vulnerability to Vixen.

There are only seven more chances to see The Eight: Reindeer Monologues--performances are tonight through December 21 at 8 p.m. So if you're ready to O.D. on December sweetness, if you're sick of Christmas songs spouting good cheer and you're just too cynical to fully embrace the whole holiday brouhaha, the Sol will give you a fresh perspective on the most wonderful time of the year.

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