Directed by Jillene Stark, the show is a little above mid-range on the best to worst scale of local parody plays, but worth the money if you're downtown on a Friday, Saturday or Monday night.
Doris Jones works at Macey's and hires Kris Kringle as the new Santa Claus. A conniving couple wants the area for their new playhouse and makes Kringle seem crazy, so he's taken into a competency hearing. Little girl who has her doubts and wants to believe, Kringle telling the court he's just telling the truth, Fred, Doris and Susan. All the makings of Miracle on 34th Street.
Bus Riley plays Kringle, and I even believe this guy is Santa Claus. He has the perfect delivery and nature to play Old Saint Nick. So, I hope he actually does put on the red suit at the mall when off stage.
Usually the comic relief is Off Broadway President Eric Jensen, but Clarence Stohn plays the goofy janitor/narrator who works everywhere in SLC in this play. He's funny and adds some clever improv to the show.
Jensen (currently Ronald Trump in Detsert Starâ€™s newest) is represented through Rusty Bringhurt's character Jerrick Henson. "No relation, of course, to Eric Jensen," Bringhurst says. "I have hair and he's bald."
Jensen's wife, Sandy, is parodied by Melissa Singleton as Xan Dee Henson.
I love the fact the Off Broadway founders aren't afraid to make fun of themselves, but not many actually caught on. Funny parts from these two come from the dialogue, not because they're based on the Jensens. Inside joke, maybe. But anyone at the theatre for the first time won't catch on.
The play is littered with hilarious tangents from appearances by Karl Malone to Chuck Norris defeating a nuclear bomb, but the funniest parts are the song parodies. The actors/singers made purposely ungraceful parody covers of Lady Marmalade and There Can Be Miracles into epic performances with the entire cast on stage. They also manage to squeeze in Drummer Boy and some other traditional Christmas songs.
The detailed set is great, from Susan Jones' bedroom to the Santa display in Macey's. And props, though cheesy, are used amazingly, including a set of doll arms to make Jerrick Henson look like a baby (probably the funniest scene in the play â€“ maybe worth going all on its own). Equally cheesy special effects tied the show together and reminded the audience none of it was serious. Unfortunately, there were also parts I couldn't hear the actors, and maybe it was a glitch this one night, but I was only in the fourth row.
Overall, it's a nice way to spend an evening, but if you already have other plans...keep them, because I've seen better at the playhouse. The play runs through Dec. 27 at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Friday and Saturday nights. Click here for tix.