Delightfully offensive show at the Idiom
by Christopher Key
There are certain demographics in this twisted nation of ours who think that there is a war on Christmas. That’s because they haven’t seen Under the Tree, one of those evil pleasures that will insure we all end up in hell. It’s good to be among friends.
Angela Kiser and Ian Bivins, two rather innocent-looking people, have concocted a Christmas show that is equal parts Salvador Dali and David Lynch, with maybe a touch of Charlie Manson thrown in just for fun. And they know how to prosecute a real war.
|Photo credit - Juliette Machado|
Their nom de theatre is On the Precipice Productions and they are obviously in love with the edge. Let’s face it, even believers get pretty disgusted with what Christmas has become and this show gives vent to all those frustrations. That’s healthy.
Kiser and Bivins are familiar to local audiences from their work with Kuntz and Company and that dance/movement idiom helps make this show far darker than anything Dickens could have imagined.
In addition to Kiser and Bivins, Kristopher Lopez brings a Prince of Insufficient Light that is thoroughly frightening. He scared the hell out of me and I didn’t think there was any hell left.
If you haven’t clued into the ambiance yet, let’s make it clear that this is not a show for anyone under 13 or the easily offended. Hell, they tear the head off a teddy bear and make jokes about Santa getting stuck in the chimney. And that’s just the mild stuff.
The real genius of this production is that it gives us permission to be offended by the real Grinches: greed and hatred and bigotry. There is really nothing to the rumor that this show was funded by ISIS. They don’t have a sense of humor.
Kiser and Bivins use sound, light and projection to evoke the familiar holiday sentimentality most of us grew up with, then blow it to hell with an IED. Like riots at Wal-Mart, a new holiday drink called Nut-Nog and a salacious interpretation of “Santa Claus is Coming…”
The live sound design is by Brendan Richard LaBotz and it’s mind-blowing. The multi-media magic is by Juliette Machado and puppetry and sculptural work by Christian Anne Smith.
The show lasts only about an hour and you’ll wish it was a lot longer. Under the Tree performs December 10 – 12 and 17 – 19 at the Idiom Theatre, 1418 Cornwall Avenue. Tickets are $10 online and $12 at the door.
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