Back for its sixth season, Rudolph, the Red-Hosed Reindeer parodies the 1964 TV special. Featuring homophile humor lowbrow enough to make Mel Brooks sound like Tom Stoppard, musical numbers danced and sung with more earnestness than skill, Cher and Pat Benatar impressions, a Lion King furry mask, and a picaresque plot allowing for multiple dish-of-the-week turns, it's all unsurprisingly wrapped around a lesson in tolerance.
Brannen Daugherty's scarlet-stockinged Rudolph leads the 23-member ensemble, which includes Dan Hickey as elfin sidekick Herbie, Melissa Pond as his fawnhood sweetheart ("The majority of cross-dressers are heterosexual," Rudolph reminds us), Lori Lee as the rugged Yukon Cornelia, and Ed Jones as the Abominable Drag Beast. Together this merry band of zanies generates sufficient momentum to bobsled through the show's 90 minutes of proudly juvenile, gloriously tasteless fun.
The only real reason to watch Fa La La This...2, a 60-minute late-night program of monologues now in its second year, is David Cerda's intimate account of his mother's Yuletide binges and how he came to understand and even feel compassion for her. Brooke Allen's portrait of a nativity pageant's stage manager (performed by Brigitte Ditmars) needs more development to be ready for an audience. But the pieces by Chad McLaughlin and Richard Bluestein appear to have no other purpose than to fill out the hour.
Rudolph, the Red-Hosed Reindeer, Hell in a Handbag Productions, at Live Bait Theater, and Fa La La This...2: Even More Twisted Tales From a Hard Candy Christmas, Hell in a Handbag Productions, at Live Bait Theater.