|John Ulman and Amber Wolfe in Christmastown (Paul Bestock)|
Christmastown: A Holiday Noir
Seattle Public Theater
Through December 24, 2014
Santa is missing! And Nick Holiday is the guy who has to find him. That’s the plot of the brand new Christmas play at Seattle Public Theater. Christmastown: A Holiday Noir is crafted by Wayne Rawley, talented local playwright, to be a cross between the standard noir mystery and a holiday parody.
Directed by Kelly Kitchens with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek, a cast of four limber actors take on mystery, danger, and candy canes. John Ulman portrays Nick Holiday, a washed up private eye. He keeps his eyes shrouded in shadow under the brim of the obligatory detective hat, and smokes multiple candy canes as he works. He is tasked with finding out if some photos of Big Red and a woman kissing under some mistletoe are real or not. The information could change some lives! (Dun dun DUN ß ominous sound effect)
Amber Wolfe plays a wealthy town socialite trying to find out if her father is really her father, and several other characters. She gets to vamp and sing and change voices and wear some cool costumes by Samantha Armitage.
Rhonda J. Soikowski plays a female cabbie and twin cops (one naughty, one nice) and also gets to vamp and change voices and wear some cool costumes, a little less flashy than Wolfe. It’s fun to watch her go from sassy menace to plucky cabbie to two different characters of cop.
Brandon Felker gets to dress up as Mrs. C. and also Tiny Tim – not as you usually think of him, along with a few others. He can play anything from sweet to sneaky to bombastic, with ease.
It’s not a crystal clear plot, so you might get a bit twisted up if you try too hard to follow. Let it flow over you and enjoy. There are a lot of puns and a lot of fun noir-ish jokes and some great sound effects from Jay Weinland and Robertson Witmer. A suitably dark lighting design is by Caleb Ruppert on a modest set by Kyna Shilling, the best part of which is a city skyline on the back wall.
It’s meant to be enjoyed and not taken too seriously. It’s a fast pace and has no intermission so it won’t take all of your evening away. But don’t sit back too far. You’ll want to keep your ears open for some pseudo-poetic noir dialogue and references to pop culture.