Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
Also see Richard's review of Russ Lorenson at Feinstein's and The SF Gay Men's Chorus.
David Sedaris's The Santaland Diaries has become another annual event having played every holiday season here for many years. Once again the hilarious solo presentation is playing at the Eureka Theatre through December 26th. This time the very talented storyteller is Zac Schuman.
The Santaland Diaries it told through the eyes of a thirty-three year-old unemployed actor playing an elf working in Santa Land at Macy's department store in New York. The 80-minute text by master storyteller David Sedaris gives an insightful account of life working as a Santaland elf. The text is full of succulent explanations that border on the bizarre. Our hero must first endure the interview, is then accepted as part of the 50-plus team of Santa's helpers, and is called Crumpet.
Crumpet changes into his red and white striped tights, red turtleneck sweater, and red cap with tassels and starts to work. He meets the other elves, many of whom are out of work actors and dancers. Our narrator profiles the staff of Santas and also talks about the different visitors Santa receives; many are real characters.
As Christmas shopping days become fewer and fewer, the parents can't control their kids as they rush to see the big guy with the white beard before the big day. One little kid throws a temper tantrum and his mother asks our hero to help. He tells the kid that if he continues to be bad, he is in for a big shock, that Santa no longer traffics in coal in the stocking; instead, he comes to your house and steals things.
Zac Schumann's acting is not overly campy but he gives out just the right amount of emotion to handle the clever text of David Sedaris. The show needs a measured pacing to make the words come alive and Schumann skillfully does that within Lux Obscura's direction, which is sharp and to the point. Abbie Dwelle has set the stage with Christmas flats and holiday lights that will get you in a holiday mood.
The Santaland Diaries plays at The Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson Street, San Francisco, through December 26. For tickets call www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2376187 and 800-838-3006.