N.Y. Times

New York Times, Thursday, December 7, 1995

Forget About Rudolph; Vixen Is Making Headlines
Ben Brantley
'Tis always the season, it would seem, to air soiled laundry for fun and profit. In the wake of the Packwood hearings comes the revelation that Santa Claus has long been a "holly jolly sex crime waiting to happen."

This bit of character assassination is advanced by one of Santa's reindeer, all of whom are represented in "The Eight: Reindeer Monologues," Jeff Goode's wickedly topical contribution to Yuletide culture. Produced by the inventive Adobe Theater Company, the play lets Prancer, Dancer and company react to charges of sexual harassment leveled against their employer by the comely Vixen (Erin Quinn Purcell).

As different takes on the scandal accumulate, a sort of tabloid, "Rashomon" emerges, with calculated echoes of news coverage of public figures like Clarence Thomas, Bob Packwood and Michael Jackson.

Comet (Christopher Marobella), a stag's stag, insists on the saintliness in Santa Claus ("the only thing that has kept me from being just another road kill"). But Blitzen (Molly Renfroe), a slick polemicist, asks the crucial question, "Why would Vixen lie?" and later adds, "When a doe says no, it means no."

Mr. Goode manages to cover a surprising number of satirical targets. And the actors, under Jeremy Dobrish's punchy direction, have a field day playing four-legged variations on the sort of publicity-drunk creatures who emerged during the O.J. Simpson trial. The charming, unexpectedly dreamlike set is by Matthew Maraffi.

"The Eight," a tart alternative to candy- cane cheer, can be seen through Dec. 16 at 46 Walker Street in TriBeCa.