Chicago Free Press - December 2002
The Eight: Reindeer Monologues
Written by Jeff Goode
Showing: Holy Covenant United Methodist Church, 925 W. Diversey, through Dec. 28
Contact: (773) 857-5395, www.journeymen.org
Playwright Jeff Goode has tapped a modest goldmine with his subversive contribution to the theatrical holiday season, "The Eight: Reindeer Monologues." It's especially for those who prefer their Christmas with a wicked twist-the show exposes the secrets of Santa's sanctuary.
Over the course of 80 or so intermission-free minutes, each North Pole herbivore comments on the latest media frenzy. With measured skill, Goode lets the facts drip out bit by bit. But before the show is over (spoiler alert!), it becomes clear that Santa does indeed possess perverted proclivities. As Cupid puts it, he was "a walking, talking, holly, jolly sex crime waiting to happen."
Under director Frank Pullen's reductive staging, the show is all about the text and the performances. Though no one crashes and burns, only some of the actors take flight. Mac Brandt starts it off on a marvelous brash note, flaunting a tough-guy ethos and showing off Dasher's bruised ego; second from the end, Tony Casale brings both humorous shtick and an affecting sadness to Donner. Lacy Coil overcomes the octet's most awkward piece with an engaging delivery and a smart bit of body language as Dancer.
Frederick Garcia's Cupid is an impersonation of John Leguizamo in " Too Wong Foo," while Cheridan Westmoreland nails Blitzen's anger but needs an overall smoother delivery. It's a good thing none of them have to play opposite matinee-idol-handsome Jason Vizza, who nails Hollywood (nee Prancer) with his hilarious L.A. send-up.
Overall, at such an inexpensive ticket price (just $10), "The Eight" makes a fine choice for some savage holiday fun.