Good fun and pleasant
divertissement at the Centaur
All I Want For Christmas marks a return to indoor audiences at the Theatre
By Byron Toben
Time was (1948) when All I Want For Christmas was My Two Front Teeth, written by Donald Yetter Gardner and performed by Spike Jones.
Fast-forward 45 years to 1994 and All I Want For Christmas Is You, as composed by Walter Afanasieff to lyrics written and performed by Mariah Carey.
Now, both these best-selling novelty Xmas songs are joined by a full one-act play called simply All I Want For Christmas, written and directed by inventive Rebecca Northan who so impressed us in 2019 with her largely improv show, Blind Date.
This current show, which closes on December 5, is built around the theme of Santa’s workshop and his helpful elves. Lots of physical theatre, even a fight scene, enlivens the script.
Elf Nog (Gabe Maharajan), a veteran Santa’s little helper, is able to get his bumbling sister elf, Ginger (Amelia Sargisson), a job in the mailroom that manages the wish letters from Montreal as Christmas eve draws nigh. As Ginger struggles to avoid snafus, a package bursts open to introduce a woman, Marge (Mariah Inger) who, desperate to find a special lover, has sent herself by special delivery (I forget if it was Federal Express or Purolator) to the North Pole in hopes that Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus can supply her with one.
… All I Want For Christmas, written and directed by inventive Rebecca Northan who so impressed us in 2019 with her largely improv show, Blind Date.
She also proves adept at organizing Ginger’s tasks. When Nog returns, he is outraged by this disruption, which eventually leads to a fight scene twixt he and she involving, shades of Star Wars, a light sabre duel.
Apparently, elves are long-lived creatures as sprightly Ginger reveals herself to be only 115 years old. (This put me in mind of G. Bernard Shaw’s play, Back to Methuselah, set 30,000 years in the future, wherein humankind has extended its life span so that someone at 100 years is but a teenager.) In any event, Ginger gets quite a workout in this play, shinnying up and down a tall pole as well as bouncing all around the stage.
Although it sometimes seems a souped-up children’s comedy, it does touch on some aspects of depression and sexual urges, so is recommended for children 12 and up, as well as adults of any age. All in all, good fun and a pleasant divertissement. Not every play need be King Lear or Hamlet. Variety is indeed the spice of life.
‘Although it sometimes seems a souped-up children’s comedy, it does touch on some aspects of depression and sexual urges, so is recommended for children 12 and up, as well as adults of any age.’
We invite readers to suggest what they would want for Xmas besides their two front teeth. Some have nominated “My dead uncle’s cash”, “New Year’s Day”, “A real good tan” and “A Beatle.”
All I want for Christmas continues until December 5.
Images: Andrée Lanthier
More articles from Byron Toben
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.
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