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"It's a Jolly Holiday..." in "Merry f***ing Christmas

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Theatre

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This holdiay season 2013-14, the Eclectic Theatre Company presented a production of "Merry F***in Christmas, Y'all" The setting is a cabin that's been rented for a family gathering in Colorado, which, according to the playbill, is an occurrence in playwright (Marnie Olson)'s real life. Olson plays the lead character, Mia, who, when younger, was confused about her sexuality. Her head may have been in the proverbial clouds, but she realizes that home is truly where the heart is. The semi-autobiographical show centers on her finding the inner strength and peace of mind to ultimately come out of the closet. Her dysfunctional stage family includes her three brothers Liam, Gunnar, and Curtis, wonderfully and credibly played by Mike Goulis, Daniel Pitack, and Julian Vican, respectively. The play is a ribald, tongue in cheek, a la South Park humor, look at the Christmas holidays and all the trimmings. The matriarch of the family, Lucy, is played by veteran stage character actress Diane Travis. Ivy Jones is a standout as the rodeo drama queen 'lover' of Liam. Her pedigree is impressive, playing opposite the likes of Ray Romano and Andy Garcia.

At show's start, director Kerr Lordygan introduces the audience to a bizarre but moving entree to the play, "here we are on a journey to find ourselves... and we hope you f***ing agree with us!" The family has been invited to the cabin in Colorado by big sister Mia for a Christmas gathering. During the ensuing madness, Liam and lover, 80 year old spry former rodeo queen Rhiannon have a 'hot old time' in the bedroom, while brother Gunnar is the rowdy, inebriated member of the family, much like a constant gadfly. He pokes fun, stating "don we now our gay apparrel..."

During each scene change, Christmas songs are cleverly arranged and juxtaposed. The mother hopes for the most wonderful family holiday, bringing tea and cookies, while family members drink booze and spiked punch, all around her. At a climactic moment in the play, the denouement, as it were, Mia and lover Elana (Erin Treanor, producer) reconcile over a difficult, rocky relationship, with a deep striving for becoming soulmates, and to their own selves be true. The play's cast of characters each reveal their hearts of gold. Merry F***in Christmas, Y'all is an emotional portrayal of a family that puts the 'fun' in dysfunctional, a family that manages to bond and come together despite incredible disparity. At the end of the day, the mother says "Merry F***in Christmas..." and I love you all."

Eclectic Company Theatre

5712 Laurel Canyon Noho, Ca

818 508-3003

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