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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 16, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 50
Wacky Wisemen skewers the holidays
Arts & Entertainment
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Wacky Wisemen skewers the holidays

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Wisemen
ACT Theatre
Through December 22


Rapid-fire puns, song parodies, original wacky rap artistry, and more are included in an original holiday-oriented musical, Wisemen. David Bestock and Eli Rosenblatt have teamed up (Rosenstock Productions) and co-produced their new work with ACT Theatre's Central Heating Lab - a place where anything experimental might end up on one of ACT's four stages.

You can probably guess that there are three Wisemen. And apparently, they are part of an incredibly successful law firm that, for instance, was able to prosecute Joshua for governmental destruction (he made those city walls fall down, right?), among other biblical successes.

Moishe Goldberg and his other orthodox Jewish partners, Frankenstein from Russia, and Murray from Ireland have been hired by Joseph who is convinced that somebody else is the father of baby Jesus Christ - it can't be him because he and Mary have never had sex. After a frantic exploration, the law firm finds at least three suspects: the next-door neighbor, E. Bunny, and God himself.

After all, each of them easily admits that they've done the nasty with Mary, but apparently, so has the pope and the local psychiatrist Morty, who counsels Joseph and Mary separately. Mary apparently likes sex - a lot - but just hasn't gotten around to it with Joseph.

Court-appointed judge Santa Claus sits in judgment as Mary hires the pope to represent her while these potential perpetrators are called to the stand. However, Santa has already revealed himself to be an evil commerce-pusher, even going so far as to desire to sell crack to children to increase his profits. Since Santa himself has had a good time with Mary, you can be pretty sure that this trial might end up rigged!

The show was only slated to run Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday for two weeks in December, so there are only three shows left. While the production is updated with new songs, better costumes, and wonderfully silly dance moves (choreographed by Scott Davis, who also helped direct), you might have heard about this from prior years under a different name - Holiday Bizarre: A Jewish Christmas - when it played at the Tractor Tavern.

Bestock and Rosenblatt include klezmer, hip-hop, funk and even a mariachi song (suddenly this guy Pedro shows up to warn Santa that the three Wisemen were coming) and a wicked parody of 'I Will Survive' in their attempt to skewer the Christmas spirit of commerce and materialism.

The portrayal of gangster-rapping E. Bunny and the conversation Moishe has with God are particularly funny. On a black-draped stage, the visual fun is in the costumes and props (credit Treisa Vendramini), like snowflake headdresses and an ingenious 'camel' consisting of a dressed-up mic stand, three stools, and a bunch of light brown fabric.

Not every joke hits the funny bone, but you can be sure that if you don't like one, there will be another two seconds later to wash it away. The rapid-fire text must be exhausting to deliver, certainly sweat-inducing for the talented actors (including Ben Harris, Gavin Cummins, and Colin Smith), and you're likely to leave with a bit of a sore jaw.

For more information, go to www.acttheatre.org or call 206-292-7676.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com.

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