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Reviews: “Santaland Diaries,”
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.
Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company: This is what theatre can do.
Named 2019 and 2017 Best Theatre for Adults (Denver Westword)
"Now in its 13th season, BETC has, in my experience, never put on a bad show. That’s not just incredible, it’s damn near impossible." (Boulder Weekly)
"Just put the dates for the rest of this season’s BETC shows on your calendar in advance so you won’t miss any of them. Do it!!" (Boulder Magazine)
"This is an excellent cast, working together as a sincere and talented ensemble, in a marvelous production...Now go get a ticket." (Theatre Colorado)