The Santaland Diaries

Even in these lean times, when jobs are hard to come by, David Sedaris' humorous monologue (adapted by Joe Mantello) about the absurdities of his seasonal employment as a department store Christmas elf still has intrinsic charm. Nicholas Brendon does the honors in a fine performance, bringing to life the simple, self-deprecating strain of humor for which Sedaris is known, as well as artfully channeling a raft of quirky characters. The script takes the audience through all the qualifying steps to be certified into elfhood, which include a 10-page test, a urine screen and two interviews. After his central character makes the grade, Brendon slides into one of his many personas and gives a hilarious, inspirational speech, which would shame Knute Rockne, to the fortunate group of new hires. Never far from the surface, however, lurks a burning sense of indignation and a tinge of sadness that life for a 33-year-old man with higher aspirations has come down to donning a goofy elf outfit — complete with cute, crescent-shaped shoes, screaming-red jacket blouse and candy cane–striped long underwear — all the while pandering to bratty kids, overbearing adults and even some irate co-workers. The show plods toward the end but not before Brendon and director Michael Matthews have scored some well-earned laughs. Blank Theatre Company at the Stella Adler Theater, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8. p.m., Sun., 2 p.m.; through Dec. 19. (323) 661-9827.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Nov. 27. Continues through Dec. 19, 2010


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