"Seasons Greetings" (Northlight Theatre): Guns, Puppets, Booze... Just Another Family X-Mas!

Christmas is about family!  People, with maybe no more in common than shared DNA, gathering together in celebration.  Dates, divorces, deaths and births constantly redefine the guest list, but forced relational interface is a certainty.  When my aunt got divorced in the seventies, my mom knew Mary Catherine’s first holiday would be hard. To distract her from holiday angst even just momentarily, mom devised a new tradition.  She 001_Bernard (Francis Guinan)purchased the “Twelve Days of Christmas” glasses…two sets.  Following the meal, the family would take a moment and sing that song. The custom, now in its 35th+ year, has brought its own comedy and drama.  We are not the Von Trapps so getting through the song is always a screech!  It has brought the family closer together in nonmusical harmonious discord.  Now, we set aside our annual political disagreements and life differences.  We finally have something in common… a mutual desire for a higher numbered glass.       

Northlight Theatre presents Season’s Greetings.  It’s just a typical family Christmas gathering.  Phyllis is pushing wine.  Uncle Harvey is pushing guns. Bernard is pushing puppetry.  In the other room, Eddie needs a job.  Pattie needs a hand.  Neville needs  a distraction. When a bestselling novelist stumbles into the holiday already in progress, he is a person of interest.  Clive wants acceptance.  Rachel wants love.  Belinda wants sex.  Nine people are forced to celebrate the three-day holiday, together.  It’s England, so Boxing Day adds an extra day for family disunity.  Instead of 5 minutes of Christmas morning mayhem, Season’s Greetings unwraps holiday humor over a prolonged period.

Read the rest of my review at Chicago Theater Beat.

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