Sunday, December 4, 2016

Comfort and Joy—Twilight Theater Company—N. Portland

Tis the Season…

This dark holiday comedy is written by Jack Heifner and directed by Jason England.  It is playing at their space, 7515 N. Brandon Ave. (off Lombard, parking available in the church lot across the street), through December 17th.  For more information, go to their site at

Dickens probably wrote the definitive story about this Season in “A Christmas Carol.”  It pretty well covers the whole gamut of Christmas emotions, memories and types of people.  Part of that story involves the Ghost of Christmas Past taking Scrooge on a trip down memory lane, focusing on sad remembrances of being abandoned in a boarding school, losing the love of his life because of his greed, the death of his sister, et. al., allowing these tragic memories to dictate his present life.  But, knowing this, can he redeem himself?

Much the same thing happens in this story.  An ambitious PR man from a movie studio, Scott (Andy Roberts), lives a comfortable lifestyle in the Hollywood Hills of California with his new lover, Tony (Johnnie Torres).  But, on this Christmas Eve, they have acquired an uninvited guest in the guise of Tony’s brother, Victor (Josiah Green), a drunk who has been thrown out of his house by his ever-loving wife, Betsy, because he had a brief fling with a mouse (you’ll just have to see it for the rest of the story).

Not only that, but Scott’s homophobic mother, Doris (Angela Mitchom) from Texas, will be visiting and meeting Tony for the first time.  Things continue to get rocky when another uninvited guest pops in, Tony and Victor’s estranged sister, Gina (Adriana Gantzer), from South America, with a little surprise of her own (again, won’t give it away, as you’ll just have to see it).  And how do their pasts haunt them?  By a flighty gentleman with wings and a wand called the Christmas Fairy (David Alan Morrison).

It seems he’s been assigned to put things right in these people’s lives, so that present and future Christmas’s will truly be filled with “…good will toward men.”  So he must assume certain guises of various individuals from their pasts to accomplish this.  He becomes Scott’s former lover, Brian; Doris’s husband, Duke; the three siblings’ mother when they were children; Betsy, Victor’s wife; et. al.   By doing this it is hoped they will see the error of their ways and perhaps he, liked Clarence, the angel in another famous Christmas tale, will garner a reward for his efforts.  To learn the outcome, you’ll just have to see it, won’t you?

There is also in this play a significant bit of serious dialogue surrounding sexual orientation.  Humor and drama can be an uneasy partnership but, in this case, it works for the most part.  England has cast the play well and balanced nicely the light and the heavy in the story.  There is a clever lighting effect, too, when the Fairy is at work.  And Morrison, as the Christmas messenger, has his hands full playing at least a dozen different characters.  The cast are all quite good but Morrison is exceptional.

I recommend this play, but do keep in mind, it is definitely adult material.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.

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