The Santa Diaries

July 2014 Book Review by Thomas Hollyday, Boston

The Santa Diaries, A full length play by Laura Ambler and Mala Burt, Production Package Available at amblerburt.com/buy-now $199. Check out the Animoto trailer at http://animoto.com/play/P2Lr8M7E5HQJG01E2xnTIQ.

We all know that plays are best reviewed in production when the director, actors, scenery and playwright magic are in your face at a theatre. In this case, I was not there but I can well imagine the delightful reception at this play’s premiere in the restored Avalon Theatre in picturesque Easton, Maryland.

This is a play that is designed to show off all the local people who can fit on the stage with funny parts and words that bring together the whole community in good fun. Keeping that in mind, the theme of the show is timeless. Every holiday season we are entertained by the Victorian Scrooge, the Depression Era Jimmy Stewart, and the Fifties Bing Crosby wishing for snow. We also have the
countless singers crooning their versions of the same carols. Hark! This play is something new, modern, and very funny.

As we all know, the season has become probably less devoted to religion and more to giving
presents. The theme today is providing presents from love and not from duty or demonstrating our money. We want to know once again the charity of the event and feel the goodness. These two playwrights, Ambler and Burt, give us that in spades. With the new characters and humor, the age old tradition is restated and artfully brought home to us with an enjoyable evening at the
theatre.

How is this done by these artists? Among many vehicles, I must say that the sweet potato
casseroles ring out the season in the funniest way I have witnessed in a long time. We have of course the proverbial Santa Claus, in this case, Sandy Hawes, who is looking for his son to take over the yearly task. His son, Will, is instead enjoying the women and money of Hollywood. How his mind is changed to a simpler and more wholesome way of life is the magic of the play. The funny cast of extras and the background music only add to the family nature of the play.

This play is recommended as a modern holiday classic well worth the admission as it comes to your town.

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