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Now in its second year, this wacko satire of Yuletide doings could become a tradition for the North Coast Rep. Creators Matt Thompson and Phil Johnson have added new material and filled out last year's inaugural effort to 90 minutes.

They could subtitle the show "Poor Santa." In one sketch, an anal retentive GPS unit tells him where to go next in minute detail (in choosing a present to insert under the verdant seaonal foliage, he must adhere to political correctness - so not that one...or that one...). In another sketch, and one of the show's best, a 12-year-old from hell sits on Santa's lap. She digs and pries and turns the tables on him ("you're just an out of work actor!"). But he re-turns them, in the end, and puts "the stocking on the other foot."

Then there's the family that dresses as cats, in emulation of their favorite musical, and roams the neighborhood singing carols with feline intonations - to the sound of slamming doors.

And the one where ornaments watch Christmas Eve doings. These involve a single mother and her date. They've been going out for two weeks and have yet to kiss. Just as the ornaments are about to turn in, the couple decides not only to kiss but escalate from there. Which prompts the Baby Jesus to exclaim, "praise myself!"

Some bits are funnier than others. But what's consistent throughout is the performers' versatility.

Jacque Wilke, Tony Houck, and Kevin Koppman-Gue - household names in theater circles - and new faces Heather Paton and BJ Lawrence Rolodex through dozens of characters, accents, and costumes (by Valerie Henderson), all with precision.

Koppman-Gue, for example, plays the 12-year-old, pony-tail tugging menace on Santa's lap, and a macho Spaniard, and a New Joisey thug, in a sleeveless t-shirt, who makes "cement shoes." Wilke ranges from Sweden and Iceland to an ancient nun who asked the wrong student a question, among others.

The quintet also sings, well, including a sprint through almost every familiar Christmas carol. Rayme Sciaroni's music, which blends unlikely pairs effectively, concludes with a touching song, "I Exist," about mythical beings who come alive during the season.


North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987-D Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach, playing through December 18; Thursday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m.. Sunday at 7:00 p.m. Matinee Sunday at 2:00 p.m. 858-481-1055.

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