The News-Times, December 10, 1998
By Chesley Plemmons
NEWS-TIMES THEATER CRITIC
Ready for a Christmas noir?
TheatreWorks New Milford is offering Jeff Goode's "The Eight: Reindeer Monologues," a haunchy, raunchy exercise that explores Santa's heretofore unsuspected and voracious sex life - with an emphasis on the kinky.
No, Virginia, this Santa Claus is not for you!
And forget the publicity for this show, which suggests a fully structured comedy: "Scandal erupts at the North Pole when one of Santa's eight tiny reindeer accuses him of sexual harassment. As the mass media descends upon the Eight, the members of the sleigh team demand to share their perspectives ... "
This 90-minute show, without intermission, is exactly what its title suggests and nothing more: eight stand-up-comedy-style monologues, albeit, all with the same humorous, if slightly warped perspective - that is, to prove Kris Kringle's "Ho, Ho, Ho!" stems more from sexual gratification than seasonal spirit.
Imagine eight different actors being given the same assignment: You've got 10 minutes. Tell us how old Saint Nick's sexual appetite and/or perversities affected your life. And make it juicy!
Not a bad premise for a put-down comedy sketch - especially at a time of year when holiday sucrose rises steadily over our ankles - and "The Eight" is often sharply funny. It's also steadily obscene and occasionally unsettling.
The eight actors are all terrific, and director Jocelyn Beard has put them through their paces, effectively drawing out clever character shadings.
Laurels, please, to drape on the antlers of Steve Manzino as a rather blue-collar Dasher, Bill Hughes as a limpidly fey/gay Cupid, Patty Geib as an in-your-face Blitzen, and Suzi Pettibone as a Vixen who knows her way around the toy shop.
That's not to fault the others; it merely illustrates, to paraphrase George Orwell, "All monologues are not equal."
If you're comfortable with the "F" word and explicit references to a variety of non-missionary sexual practices, you'll get a kick out of these irreverent reindeer revelations. If not, better mosey on down to the nearest "Nutcracker."
"The Eight: Reindeer Monologues" continues Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 19 and New Year's Eve, all at 8:30 p.m., at TheatreWorks New Milford, 5 Brookside Ave. (off Route 202), New Milford. The show is recommended for adults only. Tickets are $12 (those who bring an unwrapped toy or nonperishable food item for local charities receive $2 off); $10 for students and seniors. Call (860) 350-6863.