Onstage: Santaland Diaries

The Santaland Diaries is a the creation of essayist/NPR commentator David Sedaris and author/director Joe Mantello. In most productions Mrs. Jocelyn Dunbar (a character) fills up the less effective, less amusing second act of The Santaland Diaries, a pai

Tis the season, and those jolly holiday elves at New Edgecliff Theatre (NET) have arranged for us to revisit Mrs. Jocelyn Dunbar of haute suburbia. She comes complete with a $1.98 blonde wig and a razor tongue, telling her merry tales of an overachieving older son, an underachieving younger son, a flame-tattooed, drug-devoted daughter, a crack-damaged infant grandson and, of course, her philandering husband and his holiday surprise to the Dunbar household: a screeching, mini-skirted, 22-year-old souvenir of his wartime romping in Vietnam.

Said souvenir, Mrs. D informs us, understands only one word of English: “Shopping!” She wears a bikini to Thanksgiving dinner and attempts to seduce her father and both of her half-brothers. Can anyone doubt that the Dunbar’s holiday entertainment will include murder?

Mrs. D is the creation of essayist/NPR commentator David Sedaris and author/director Joe Mantello. In most productions she fills up the less effective, less amusing second act of The Santaland Diaries, a pair of solo-playlets that have become, over the last decade, a welcome antidote to the saccharine shock of other Christmas entertainments. NET first presented the show in 2001 and has revived it most seasons since.

Read Tom McElfresh's full review here

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