The scene: opening night of Christmas Vacation: The Bi-Polar Express at Desert Star was one of festive excitement.
Wagon wheels draped in garland and hunting trophies, sporting softball sized ornaments, transformed the lobby into a festive atmosphere.
I asked Laura, a Desert Star employee at the will call desk about the stapled to the ceiling rafters. She said they were from when it was a restaurant. They had the policy, "take it off, or we'll cut it off," to let costumers know it was a place to relax. Some whole families would come with ties, just to have them cut off, and now they hang as trophies.
All of this helped set the scene for Desert Star's newest play.
The play follows the story of Little Audrey Trump, who wants to know if Santa is real so bad, she writes him a letter to find out. Shortly after, she's taken to the North Pole on the Bi-Polar express. She's joined on stage by the brother of Donald, Ronald Trump, Frostbite the snowman, elves using hammers to make video games, of course, Santa.
JD Dumas, seated at the piano, provided excellent accompaniment and let the crowd know the boo and cheer chords before hand, really bringing the audience into the play.
You'll not want to miss the play's reading of Dear Santa letters:
One child leaves Santa a veggie platter after listing the statistics of obesity.
Another, from a little boy, asked for a bee-bee gun after admitting a number of atrocities he'd committed, including the shredding of his parents wedding album.
And one even ends with "P.S. If you're not real, don't tell me; I don't want to know."
The namesake of the play comes from the train that travels between the North and South Poles. I won't mention who the conductor is or why the audience was convinced he had a serious psychological disorder. That's one act you'll have to see in order to believe.
The script is full of great one-liners and jokes you'll take home like the idea University of Phoenix is for people who"don't want to go to real college." What Santa hides in his underwear drawer, which character had a boyfriend with a Napoleon complex and what the Boston Celtics and Carlos Boozer have in common. Not to mention, some fun pokes at Utah culture...home teachers in particular.
The overall delivery of lyrics and punch lines left me hunched over with delight. One prop that got the crowd howling was a miniature of Santa's sleigh, which danced across the stage to create a zoomed-out effect. The clouds that passed by the train were another distraction, but definitely worth noting. And two stumbled lines where easily transitioned into the act with humor, leaving audience and performers alike with a good laugh.
Overall, the story was somewhat predictable, was very entertaining, but if you're looking for a night of fun, don't miss Desert Star's production of Christmas Vacation: The Bi-Polar Express.
The show runs through Jan. 1. Click here for tix.