Without a little grownup holiday cynicism, a lot of theatres wouldn't have much to write about come December. Shantz Theatre's holiday sketch comedy show follows suit by inserting some more creative, somewhat cranky skits into their repertoire; unfortunately, some, but not all, of the skits play out like the same stuff we already experienced at last week's holiday show.
We start off with a titular skit about the L. A pregnant woman, a dumb Bears fan and a latte-sipping lady huddle together on a Brown Line platform. A homeless woman, impressively acted by Tracy Meyer (also a pH performer), panhandles her frosty butt around the stage; eventually, she scores a cup to pee in and a few bucks. Then out comes Lord Kimball (played by Shantz Theatre founder Matt Fotis). Aside from the homeless woman, he's one of the few who know about the cause of the L delay: the evil Blagojegrinch. The skit is clever, but not as creative as we hoped. Other skits are just too over-the-top; for example, in one a woman goes to return a sweater, but when the store employee finds out she's Muslim and doesn't celebrate Christmas, her and the store manager bust out with the obvious, stereotypical and downright tasteless jokes.
Just when we started thinking that this was all too much, Shantz got us laughing till we cried: Menorah Man and Dreidel Boy visit the Goldberg Family on Christmas demanding to know why they're "celebrating both holidays" but really going all-out for Christmas. In another equally hilarious skit, a woman happily reading Christmas cards finds one from a family's dog. But what seems cute at first is actually the dog's last goodbye—a suicide letter in the form of a Christmas card. He's peed in the house one too many times, and now he must leave. It's in these less obvious, more outlandish skits that "No-El" succeeds; others just blend in with the usual Christmas craziness.