Tolucan - Canyon Crier - Valley Life - Wednesday, December 11, 1996

"The Eight" ...A holiday fable for grown ups!

By Pat Taylor

There's a new theatre company in town that I feel will quickly make their mark on the L.A. theatre scene. Circle X, in their debut production promises to be a "cutting edge, talent filled, reality check" kind of performance group.

This cleverly written, bizarre piece, authored by Jeff Goode, titled The Eight, refers to eight of Santa's reindeer. Santa is under suspicion of committing an unspeakable act, and his outraged reindeer are considering quitting their jobs. We meet each reindeer individually in ten minute acts, which tie together as each reveal their personalities, interests and strong opinions of Santa Claus.

A darkly riotous and off-the-wall story and definitely NOT a Christmas story for the kiddies, I lived this show! Excellent performances throughout, under the direction of John Lovick, and peppered with symbolisms of life in the '90s, this show requires an open minded audience.

Let me introduce you to Santa's transportation team: Dasher, (played by Richard Augustine), is a company man, who believes Xmas must go on, no matter what. Blitzen, (played by Gwyn Fawcett), is a feminist anti-Santa activist. Comet, (played by Matthew Allen Bretz), is an ex-druggie and totally pro-Santa. Dancer, (played by Melanie van Betten), is a cigarette smoking, martini drinking, Jewish, opportunist. Vixen, (played by Alisa Wilson), is a sexy, flirtatious, reindeer tart. In my favorite roles, partly due to the actors' talents and partly because the script gave them luscious lines, there was Donner, (played by Bob Clendenin , as Rudolph's Father), and Cupid, (played with great spirit and flamboyance, by Doug Hutchison, as the outrageous "gay" buck).

Not the reindeer we grew up loving, but this group of eight are certainly worth experiencing. This show is dark, funny, unique and thought provoking, all at once! Try to see it. It'll "sleigh" you!

Running Thursday & Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m. thru December 22 at Hollywood Court Theatre at 6817 W. Franklin in Hollywood. For tickets call (213) 969-9239.*

*This Circle X production is being held in conjunction with a gift drive to benefit the L.A. Youth Network, a shelter for runaway, homeless and throwaway teens. For information on this, call Jodi Baker at the same phone number.