Seattle Public Theatre’s Christmastown (12/15/21)

There is a sense of scale in theatre, like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. This show is too big, that is too small, but that is just right. There is something to be said for all of them, but it is a relaxing pleasure when you find yourself in the right hands. You are going to be okay. 

That is where we are with Christmastown — it is just right!

First, the ticket price includes an artist level of $10 that allowed a middle-aged playwright-ish working at high school student wages to pony up and go. Maybe after I pay off my car or something I will go up to the next level, and certainly shelling out $7 plus tip for a glass of wine that cost them $1.72 was part of the evening’s overall expense, but I could absolutely get there for a $10 ticket. I can’t always make the $35 show. Sorry.

Then there is the script, always the focus of the playwright. That is one of the things that was just right. It had the premise of a film noir private detective in a place called Christmastown on the hunt for clues to what happened to “Big Red,” the mysteriously missing Santa Claus. The romp takes us through every cliché in both film noir and the secular Christmas folklore of America, including 34th Street, Rudolph, the classy dame, and plenty of vamping about at gunpoint. It is a workmanlike thing that should just be produced, because it gets the job done.

With a set that cost ~$20 and was probably in someone’s garage, the cast of four strong players cleverly shuffling about with roles and properties, and the directing strong and inventive within the range of effective and usual business that moved the show along, the practically sold-out house, on a Wednesday night, even, left by 8:30 with an air of contentment, not entirely used up, and ready for the next phase of the evening, a late dinner, drinks, conversation. Nearby establishments had emptied out a bit from the dinner rush and no doubt offered seats for the elegant comestibles we thrive on in these works. It is good. The second show started at 9, crowds were already lining up when I left — hope was in the air.

© Joann Farias 2024