Review: "A Very Phoenix Xmas 11"

A Very Phoenix Xmas 11

Eleven years running, and you still don't know what to expect. A Very Phoenix Xmas 11 is the latest incarnation in the Phoenix Theatre's commitment to bring its audiences unique and brand-new shenanigans for the holiday season. The show goes melodramatically PC this year by including some less-well-known customs from other countries to show us that we are all weird in our own ways; hence the tagline "I'm dreaming of an intersectionally thoughtful, multicultural winter holiday."

Directed by Bryan Fonseca, he and playwright Tom Horan "curated" short pieces from eight contributors and mashed them together into a hit-and-miss hodgepodge of goofy, confusing, tragic and even bunny-murdering stories performed collectively by Jean Childers-Arnold, Paeton Chavis, Paul Collier Hansen, Andrea Heiden, Jay Hemphill, Devan Mathias and Keith Potts.

From the hell that is the "It's a Small World" ride to Christmas dinner Mad Libs to another kind of hell in the Syrian civil war to puppets — the content runs the gamut and then some. What is consistent is the excellent cast. No matter what the setting or situation, each of them pulls it off effortlessly. My personal favorite: a "Night Before Christmas" tap rap by Potts and Collier Hansen.

Special accolades must also be given to the technical crew that made such a wide array of topics accessible on a single stage. I can't reprint the program page here, but a very special Christmahannukwanzadanstice to them too.

Runs through Dec. 23, $30 - $35, phoenixtheatre.org

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