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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"A Civil War Christmas" @ Artists Rep

Playwright Paula Vogel must have some issues with Christmas. The seeming mismatch of "War," "Christmas" and "Musical" reminded me of another Vogel play, which was dark and serious, but still managed to make use of puppetry, an art-form not known for somberness. I just now recalled that the title was "A Long Christmas Ride Home."

Here, Vogel manages to make the play part history lesson, part seamless musical, and even part comedy. (The extremely versatile John San Nicholas plays both Mary Surratt and a horse.) Yes, he plays a horse, a feat that would be all the more notable had he not just played a chimpanzee in "Trevor."

Of all the holiday offerings on local-stages, I would dub this one the "must-see" of the bunch. I say this because it is the one most likely to be passed over due to its strangeness, from the title on down. See the intriguing shows, they deserve an audience they often don't receive.

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