As the holiday season heats up with a plethora of family-friendly Christmas plays and musicals, those of us in search of more adult or non-traditional fare may want to celebrate the season by having a “Mid-Life Christmas” at Go Comedy! Improv Theater in fabulous downtown Ferndale.
Written by director Pj Jacokes and ensemble members Christa Coulter, Chris DiAngelo, Carrie Hall, Jen Hansen, Bryan Lark and Tommy Simon, “Mid-Life Christmas” is a fast-paced sketch comedy that explores the crazier side of the season. Like most original sketch comedies, some of the material works better than others, but for the most part, “Mid-Life Christmas” delivers plenty of laughs, wrapped mostly around a delightful spoof of that annual holiday chestnut, the “Nutcracker.”
The production is at its sharpest in three continuing sketches. In the first, two sisters and their husbands exchange Christmas presents every year – but not everyone puts the same amount of thought into what they give. (Hansen’s reactions are excellent!) In another, Lark is a TV weatherman forced to “track Santa” on his way from the North Pole. His eventual meltdown is one of the show’s highlights. And Hansen and Hall serve as TV commentators of one of the longest and strangest Christmas parades ever televised.
The funniest moment of the night is also one of the quickest: an unusual rendition of “Carol of the Bells” by the show’s three buxom women.
A few sketches would be better served with quicker pacing. That especially true of an otherwise humorous “who’s on first” type of sketch in which Simon goes into an Apple store “looking for jobs.” Conversely, there are also moments when the actors deliver their lines way too quickly!
And the closing number MAY have been funny – except those of us seated in the back could hear only half of the words. But maybe that’s a GOOD thing, since improvisers aren’t usually known for their strong singing voices.
As usual, the technical aspects of the show – especially the sound design by new dad Pete Jacokes – are quite strong and add to the night’s fun.
So if you’re looking for a night of holiday cheer without the schmaltz, head to Go Comedy! And while you’re there, double the cheer by sampling one of their special holiday drinks! I’ve been told they’re tasty!
Go Comedy! Improv Theater, 261 E. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday through Dec. 23; closed Thanksgiving Day. $15. 248-327-0575. http://www.gocomedy.net