A Triple XXXmas Special | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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A Triple XXXmas Special

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A Triple XXXmas Special, C'est Destine, at MethaDome Theatre. Few holidays bring out the brattiness in the off-off-Loop theater scene the way Christmas does. This triple bill of new pieces aims to flip the Big Holiday the bird, but the evening is underrehearsed and too hesitant and scattered to deliver any meaningful insults.

Brett Neveu's The Night Before Christmas is the most original: thirtysomething Richard brings his Christmas list to an exhausted Santa, an ingenious cross between an officious mortgage banker and a bitter psychoanalyst who can barely muster the energy to evaluate Richard on the naughty/nice continuum. Don Blair does well as the world-weary Santa, but Matthew W. Roth plays Richard so broadly that the piece is rarely credible. Jeff Goode's The UnXmas Story is a perfunctory, potty-mouthed retelling of Christ's birth. Marked by easy choices and uninspired impudence, it features lines like "No room at the inn, my ass." Even versatile actor Eric Johnson can't find an honest moment, a sure sign of weak material. And Moses Moe goes off in about 18 directions in As If, charting the hyperbolic meltdown of an unhappy marriage. But after stretching his characters to grotesque extremes, he shoehorns them into the kind of sappy Hallmark ending this show supposedly subverts.

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