There are no words to describe The Ultimate Christmas Show by The Reduced Shakespeare Company that would truly prepare you for what’s to come. The slapstick interfaith holiday variety show and pageant sounds cute and family friendly, but the level of inappropriate social irreverence was extremely shocking yet absolutely hilarious.
Written by, directed, and starring Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, with zany partner, Matt Rippy, The Ultimate Christmas Show introduces a variety of comedic skits and funny, mock Christmas carols. The premise of the show: the three show hosts “discover” on opening night that all their performers are caught in a severe snowstorm and they will not be able to appear. Rather than canceling the show and sending everyone home with a full refund, the three gather up all the costumes and props and attempt to put on the show themselves. It’s obvious, and meant to be, that it’s all a ruse and their intention was to perform the show themselves, but it’s a funny, creative scenario regardless.
The trio perform a number of clever, absurd Christmas related songs and they do an exceptional job with quick costume and role changes. Tichenor proves his commitment to the show and his very limited shame when he “dons his gay apparel” and Rippy and Martin are outstanding as pretend puppets in the Billy Barty Ballet Company, performing “Lil Nutsy: the Elf Nutcracker.
In a hilarious interactive skit, audience members are put on the spot to come up with modern gifts for the outdated partridges and pear trees of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Among the new items: seven Panthers’ wins, nine jobs with good benefits, and a house with a swimming pool.
As an added “treat” for the audience, there is a gift exchange option. For only $2, audience members could purchase a wrapped gift from the lobby and exchange it for another gift under the Christmas tree. My sister, Gabriella, received a pair of costume glasses that made us laugh for hours after the show.
These three wise men create a memorable performance with borderline inappropriatecomedy. It’s festive, funny, and entertaining. If you want a unique, comedic twist to the traditional winter holiday traditions and stories, let The Ultimate Christmas Show take you on an irreverent yet heartwarming trip through the holidays.
You can find their tour dates at http://www.reducedshakespeare.com/tour-pages/tour-usa/
Enjoy the show and Happy Merry Chrismakwanukkahanzakah!