The SantaLand Diaries (* * * stars out of 4, Satire)
Move over, Ebenezer, a sharp-tongued Elf named Crumpet’s got you beat when it comes to tart holiday observations.
“Bah, humbug” isn’t exactly his riff. Indeed, a fair amount of his dialogue can’t be repeated in a newspaper. But as embodied (very much so) by Matt Zambrano in “The SantaLand Diaries,” he’s got things to say about the Christmas spirit.
The one-man one-act — at the Garner Galleria Theatre through Dec. 24 — is the work of humorist David Sedaris.
The author’s account of working as an elf in Macy’s Christmastime display has become a holiday staple.
And it’s got legs. Yes, they’re encased in candy-cane tights, but the show keeps on keeping on likely because it balances seasonal cynicism with a dose of just-as-seasonal warmth.
This production comes courtesy of a fine collaboration between Denver Center Attractions and the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company. It’s directed by BETC’s artistic honcho, Stephen Weitz, who goes for maximum zip. Zambrano’s turn is a feat of fleet-tongued, often vigorously physical comedy.
Although the play was first performed in Denver in 2001 at the Bug Theatre on Navajo, the monologue has had updates over the years: 2013’s Crumpet shares his obsession with the HBO series “Game of Thrones” and his crush on character Jon Snow.
Zambrano’s got sly appeal and a hint of vulnerability that softens the edges while keeping it sharply naughtier than dully nice.
“THE SANTALAND DIARIES” Written by David Sedaris. Directed by Stephen Weitz. Featuring Matt Zambrano. Through Dec. 24. 90 minutes. At the Garner Galleria Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets. Tickets $33-$38 via denvercenter.org or 303-893-4100.