nytheatre.com review by Anthony Johnston
December 13, 2010
The fourth annual holiday offering from EndTimes Productions, Naked Holidays, is described as "a darkly comic Yuletide bacchanalia." The bacchanalia were wild and mystic festivals of the Greek and Roman god Bacchus (or Dionysus). The word has since come to describe any form of drunken revelry. And drunken revelry is exactly what this show is meant to be.
When the house is opened, audiences are funneled into the cavernous underground Ace of Clubs Theatre and are immediately pointed in the direction of the venue’s full bar—offering beer, wine, and cocktails. Familiar holiday songs like “Silent Night” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” play. Twinkling colored lights, holly, and mistletoe are present. The atmosphere is one of holiday cheer.
Throughout the two-hour performance, a cast of two-dozen scantily clad male and female twentysomethings sing, dance, act, and play musical instruments. The evening is divided into a smattering of mini-plays, short sketches, and musical numbers, all centered around the Christmas theme. There’s a sketch about angry parents murdering a mall Santa, Hitler’s love of the holiday season, a Toy Story spoof featuring a "Drunk Barbie," and a modern re-telling of A Christmas Carol in which "Scrooge" is "Mr. Splooge"—a heartless, lonely supervisor at a mid-level telemarketing firm. Naked Holidays spoofs and celebrates more than just Christmas though; Hanukkah and Kwanza are briefly thrown into the mix too. This non-denominational holiday sketch comedy show is jam-packed with cheap jokes and cheap thrills.
Highlights include a four-part harmony version of "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" sung by men wearing only Santa-hat thongs, and three young women singing "O Little Town of Bethlehem" in bikinis depicting a traditional nativity scene.
Alessandro Colla is sexy and charming as the evening’s Mexican guitar-toting emcee. Unfortunately he disappears early on in the show. Alexandra Scott stands out for her plucky attitude and vulnerability. In one of the best moments of the show, Scott stands center stage, fully nude, grinning from ear to ear, says “This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” then sits down at the piano and plays a sweet, solo rendition of "Skating" from A Charlie Brown Christmas. The simplicity and stillness of this brief interlude helps to give audiences a break from sketches which feature all too much yelling and physical chaos. Alex Dunbar shines throughout, in one piece playing Adolf Hitler preparing for his annual Christmas party, and in another a classic 1940s Newspaper Boy who winds up as an unwilling slave in an S&M dungeon.
With the final sketch of the night, "The Naked People Play," Naked Holidays attempts to comment on nudity in the theatre or maybe give us a reason for all of the show’s gratuitous “T and A,” but while this sketch doesn’t quite say anything about the role of nudity in the production, or of nudity in art in general, it doesn’t matter—we’re too busy staring at all of the naked people to care.
If you're looking for high art, this is not the show for you. Naked Holidays is a rude, raunchy, messy, silly, and sometimes funny sketch comedy show. Guzzle down some eggnog, get your holiday buzz on, and you'll probably have a fun time.