Holiday songs keep telling us that Santa Claus is coming to town, but Bwog is here to tell you about how XMAS! came to town over the past few days. XMAS! Elf Extraordinaire Elizabeth Self got into the holiday spirit.
Monday night was the “secular spectacular,” XMAS!8: Elves Gone Wild, written by Eleanor Bray, BC ’14, and Bijan Samareh, CC ’15, music by Ethan Fudge, CC ’15, and lyrics by Molly Heller, GS/JTS ’15. This year’s story chronicled the adventures of the ambitious Rudolph St. Ebenezer (who I guess is an elf?) as he fulfills his dream to work for Santa at the north pole, which, as it turns out, is actually a sweatshop that works elves to death while funding Santa and his cronies with various luxuries.
Following the croaking orders of his dead ancestor elf, Rudolph leads the other elf workers in a revolution. As it goes with revolutions, though, the struggle isn’t over when the tyrant is defeated, and Rudolph, pressured to manage the workers and and make enough toys, eventually abdictates to his moms’ house. Later his love interest comes to inspire him to return and lead the elves once more to make all the toys for the world’s children, and the show ends in an inspiring number—my favorite—all about how nothing can ever go wrong with communism.
Going in, I was afraid that the production would be a little stupid but hoped it would be fairly entertaining, and all my hopes and fears were fulfilled. It was a fun little comedy that was executed with a lot of talent, actually, even though the plot could have been lifted from any number of children’s movies (though children’s movies are generally a bit easier to follow.) The musical featured jokes on all of our favorite topics of discussion, including non-heterosexual parents, hazing, Hamlet, recreational drugs, and New Jersey.
More surprising to me was the music, composed by Ethan Fudge, which was played live and quite well, I thought. The tunes definitely livened up some of the less memorable scenes which, unlike most parts, did not have me laughing until my sides hurt. The lyrics were, admittedly, weaker than the melodies, which was surprising. Sean Walsh, CC ’14, who played the exuberant protagonist, Rudolph St. Ebenezer, looks an awful lot like Michael Cera, at least from where I sat, which I found particularly distracting throughout the show. However, striking enough to catch my attention was the wonderful pair that Jessica Chi, CC ’15, and Simone Norman, BC ’15, made as Rudolph’s moms, both in acting and singing. My favorite character, though, was Larry, the spot-on mooch performed by Chris Evans, CC ’15. Evans decided to branch out from his LateNite comfort zone, and his presence in the silly musical was greatly appreciated. He may play the same character every time (himself), but we like it and will keep it that way.
While no philosophical masterpiece, this year’s XMAS! was humorous and a great break from the end-of-semester pressure, and I’m quite glad that I chose to enjoy the simple fun of middle school sex jokes and ridiculous acting.
XMAS! actor via Shutterstock