Currently playing at the Eclectic Company Theatre, in NoHo, is an unusual Christmas Cabaret, showcasing the talented feats of a collection of eccentric performers.
In this inventive show, created by Chelsea Sutton, we discover that the road that leads to the North Pole is somehow trashier than you would have imagined it to be. Spindly, frost-tipped trees reach out to you like bony fingers and crumpled newspaper, broken toys and shattered ornaments line the street. The alternate reality is disturbing and yet somehow oddly familiar.
What is ostensibly an alternative holiday cabaret extravaganza, a simple storyline is offered, creating a pretext for this collection of eclectic performances.Â A lost little girl (played by Questa Gleason) is searching for Santa Claus amidst a Christmas street fair. Our host for the evening agrees to guide her there, but what is his true motive?
With his face half-masked and his top hat set at a rakish angle, our master of ceremonies Edward (Levi Packer) bounds onto the stage like a deranged escapee from a Charles Dickens novel. Gesticulating wildly with his fingerless gloves, this artful dodger is maniacally cheerful as he agrees to introduce the Girl to Santa Clause. Assisting our host Edward is a voluptuous trio of demonic elves or “cronies,” a malevolent threesome all clad in festive baby doll dresses and torn fishnet stockings like three demented dancing kewpie dolls (played by Erin Treanor, Danielle Cinton and Dana Amromin).Â From here on, the Girl”™s journey to the North Pole is punctuated by the performance interludes and specialty acts.
First up is a marvelous belly dancing performance from the lovely Olivia Dunkley, who appears at Friday performances. (Belly dancer Costa Brava will appear on Saturdays.) This stunning and slender blonde not only quivers and dances with great precision, grace and aplomb, she also astounds us with some amazing feats, such as balancing a sword on various parts of her body while gracefully gyrating.
Comedian Jay Ko follows with his droll commentary,Â riffing on certain trademarks of the festive season, such as the “secret Santa” tradition.
Sultry R n B singer Sixx Carter, resplendent in a black bra, corset and bowler hat, is accompanied by Daniel M. Smith on guitar. Her crooning renditions of some holiday favorites, such as “Let it Snow” is suddenly interrupted by her ex-boyfriend, Kanye-style “Imma let you finish!” prompting a funny anti-Christmas song entitled “You Suck!”
The gorgeous burlesque dancer, Honey Ima Home, performs a comical strip routine where she shyly mimes to the song “I won”™t dance (don”™t ask me)” until she reveals her tasseled bikini – and beyond!
She’s followed by juggler Scot Nery who delights with a thrilling backpack contortion/escape routine followed by an exciting free-style pancake flipping finale. Another burlesque strip is performed by Amelie, a glamorous red-head who astounds with her skillful whirling dervish-inspired dancing and acrobatic feats, including balancing a feather-encrusted chandelier crown atop her head.
When the Girl (and us) finally meet Santa (Biff Wiff), he”™s perched on a gilded “throne” (toilet). A lovely pas de deux concludes this entertaining evening.
Eclectic Company Theatre”™s Xmas Cabaret is only playing for one more week, so don”™t miss out!
Located at:Â 5312 Laurel Canyon Boulevard
North Hollywood, CA
Performances — Dec 4-12, Fridays and Saturdays at 9pm.
Call (818) 508-3003 for reservations.
Review by Pauline Adamek