Kentucky Claus & the Redneck Elves
Written and Directed by Jonathan M. Vick
Performance Space Orlando
Happy Holidays. Mama and daddy burned to death last Christmas ’cause no one checked to see if the tree was flammable. Now older (but not wiser) brother Nate (Jonathan Vick) tries to keep the family together till Blake (Bobby Algur) is old enough to keep himself, and maybe find him a woman. Brother Zeke’s (Ken Jordan) out for blood ’cause he thinks Nate’s sleeping with his Bertha, but holds off killing him till after Christmas for fear of missing out on the presents. Jake and Stuart want to flee to LA for a singing career, Boon has to wear mama’s clothes after getting frostbite on his butt, and everyone’s snowed in, there’s no egg nog, and the truck keeps blowing up. And they shoot Kentucky Claus in the knee. AND there’s no women. Damn.
Crammed into the intimate space of PSO, the cast and a full house make a tight fit, with people running around at full tilt, often in pitch dark, throwing punches, shooting guns, and generally raising heck. The action is fast, the jokes are furious, and despite the obligatory redneck bestiality, the play is a scream. Vick not only writes a clever parody of the classic poem Twas the Night Before Christmas , but builds it into a tight comedy performance with a well-rehearsed troupe. Stuart (Anthony Gobbi) even does a respectable “Blue Christmas” to cover up some set changes.
The joy of “Kentucky Claus” flows from the semi-functional family structure we all inhabit. Bad thing happen to good people, but funny things happen to these people. Who of us hasn’t blown up a truck, set the house on fire, left a dear relative to freeze in the woods, or slept with a psychotic’s girlfriend? And aren’t these foibles all the more endearing on the eve of that most sacred of Christian holidays, when the stores are all closed and we have to improvise dinner out of beef jerky and Yoo-Hoo? Kentucky Claus will have you spitting your chaw out your nose. Bring a hanky.