Barney the Elf Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 20 2015

The Other Theatre Company’s tentative entry into Chicago’s already crowded field of campy, shlocky holiday shows suffers from fidgety staging, cluttered choreography, simplistic plotting, unnecessary musical numbers, and parody lyrics of pop and Broadway standards more workmanlike than clever. But Bryan Renaud’s alternately childlike and crude romp gets the most important element right: the unaccountable love affair between Barney, an incessantly cheery elf banished from the gay-unfriendly North Pole, and Zooey, a vain, cynical Chicago drag queen. As the unlikely couple Yando Lopez and Dixie Lynn Cartwright are ridiculous, open-hearted, trashy, and touching, finding enduring emotional truth amid the foolishness. If Renaud and company can bring the rest of the show up to their level, they may have a genuine holiday classic on their hands. —Justin Hayford

Price: $25

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