Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Help save Christmas from aliens - and eat reindeer!

Christmas is Burning (John Cornicello)

Christmas is Burning
Café Nordo
Through December 30, 2016

You too can be part of the Holiday Defense League “as they valiantly struggle to save the most wonderful day of the year.” How? By coming in from the cold to Café Nordo and being on the ship the HMS Whooville. Also by eating reindeer!

It’s nice to have crew there who will keep up your calories by feeding you well during the flight. You’ll need them to fight off the killer robots who are infiltrating from a warp in time.

This is like nothing else on this planet. Guaranteed. Of course, just about anything written by Scot Augustson is like nothing else on this planet. Which means you may or may not understand much of it besides the keen focus on jokes. This iteration of shadow puppetry and food pairs talented food creator Erin Brindley with the mental hijinks of Augustson’s fertile (and furtive?) mind.

Christmas is Burning has the feel of a live action radio play. Voice actors and musicians Evan Mosher and Shawnmarie Stanton create various voices for the puppets, along with being part of the musical accompaniment. Live actors Ray Tagavilla, Opal Peachey, Roy Stanton, Libby Barnard and Alyssa Norling act as the crew of the ship while the audience careens through time. You meet a boy shadow puppet who is kidnapped by aliens from the 1970s who finds other orphans and a Scotch orphanage matron and a cross between a bassett hound and an orangutan and…

You kind of have to be there. There’s shadow puppet sex, and quantum physics, and some inventive descriptions of time and how it works. There is a sort of Star Trek-esque feeling going on, including crew wearing Red Shirts, and of course, they die several times. (See your local Star Trek lore.) They even get to sing a fun song about it (courtesy composer S.Stanton).

So, the music helps a lot, both because of unique new compositions to listen to and, for some, holiday favorites thrown in. Despite the cartoony ominousness, the evening is fun and silly and definitely one that makes you stop thinking about most of what’s outside the Nordo door.

In addition, Brindley’s inventive menu fits the theme like a holiday stocking! Baby Jesus Bread Loaf is followed by Stocking Stuffers which are empanadas made to look like stockings. There’s a very tasty butternut squash soup, a main course of reindeer pie and nitro-frozen peppermint custard.

For those who don’t want to eat a dasher, there’s a vegetarian option for the empanadas and the main course. Allergies can be coped with if you call in advance with your needs. There is a special flight of spirits that can be added, and numerous separate drinks to choose from.

If the storyline is bewildering, you’ll still be handsomely fed and entertained by the music and ambiance. Thankfully, the script zooms along quickly, and the whole thing wraps up in about two hours.

For more information, go to or or call 206-547-6215.

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