- Rob Johansen (left) and Charles Goad play cards.
Christmas traditions, for me, are about combining the old with the new. In A Very Phoenix X-Mas 7: Getting Figgy With It the Phoenix Theatre does this by gleefully gathering familiar friends (Charles Goad, Rob Johansen, Scot Greenwell) while bringing in new ones (actress Ryan O'Shea, hybrid instrumental performance art group The Fourth Wall Ensemble).
Greenwell hilariously emcees the show as a Montessori school principal determined to host the holiday pageant on political correct terms. Luckily the skits and songs disobey his mandate, including "Love on a Winter's Wind," a send up of a Christmas light display, Toy Story-style; "Donde Esta Santa Claus?" a tune by a cheeky Christmas mariachi band; "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy," as done by live action sock puppets; and "Fairytale of New York," an Irish drinking song both dark and lovely.
I expected little more than bits of music between the show's skits from the Fourth Wall Ensemble (Hilary Abigana on flute, Greg Jukes on percussion/accordion and C. Neil Parsons on brass), but the multitalented group blended in easily, playing instruments while "ice skating" or dancing, and even taking a role in a skit or two.
But perhaps the highlight for Indy theatre regulars comes in seeing Indianapolis Christmas icons Goad and Johansen irreverently reunited as oversized elves, Honey Boo Boo impersonators and more. And you get to see them revive a little A Christmas Carol magic (both have starred in the IRT's production of the Carol) when the cast reenacts the holiday classic in three minutes flat.