LA Weekly

L.A. Weekly, December 17-23, 1999

THE EIGHT: Reindeer Monologues

The title pretty much sums up Jeff Goode's hilarious and intelligent middle finger to all the candy-coated commercialism of the Yuletide season. Sexual assault charges have been brought up against Santa Claus (whom we never see) by one of his own reindeer. But that's only an excuse for his sleigh-pulling employees to vent. One of the best monologues is from queer Cupid (Peter Paige), a flamboyant queen who can no longer suppress the hurt sustained working for the Claus family. Other notable bucks and does include Hollywood (Joe Reynolds), an actor who hates Rudolph for hindering his screen career; puckish ditz Dancer (Rochelle Robinson); and of course, complaint-filer and sex-bomb Vixen (Carlinda Ross), who refuses to go out like a victim. Much like a Gary Larson cartoon where the humor hinges on animals taking on human behavior, The Eight at times suffers from a kind of Sunday funnies cutesiness, but not enough so to mar Goode's impassioned, thoughtful writing or John James Hickey's staging. Using the small space to maximum effect, set designer Desma Murphy perfectly captures the world of those classic claymation Christmas TV specials. MET Theater, 1089 N. Oxford Ave.; Thurs.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; thru Dec. 18. (323) 957-1152. (Andrew Lentz)

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