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Light-hearted holiday mash-up delivers a whirlwind of fun in Sonora
Three very funny actors pull off a rapid-fire, head-spinning, frenetic look at traditional holiday classics in the Sierra Repertory Theatre's "Every Christmas Story Ever Told...and Then Some" playing at the East Sonora stage through Dec. 16.

The audience on opening night may have been unsure what was in store when the play began but was enjoying itself with thick laughs in quick fashion. Essentially, the play begins when Ty Smith opens with a dramatic reading of Charles Dickens' classic "Christmas Carol" and all heck breaks lose when fellow actors in J.D. Kellman and Tommy J. Dose decide they've had enough and want to give the audience just about every American Christmas tradition known to man. The three basically put Christmas traditions in a blender as the audience enjoys the humorous mish-mash with zany results. In the two hours, the audience visits Rudolph, TV commercials that feature Santa on a Norelco razor, Tiny Tim, Cindy Lou Who, Frosty, fruitcake, Santa, Scrooge, big-city Christmas parades and holiday folklore from around the globe. The play wraps up when Smith finally gets his wish to do Christmas Carol while his sidekicks drag him into simultaneous scenes from Frank Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life."

Dose is amusing in both his childish behaviors -- impish smile and batting eyes and all -- and ridiculous impersonations of females. Smith splits sides, particularly as the veins bulge on his neck as he defies Dose's view of Santa as he dispenses the logistical facts of how fast Santa would have to move around the planet. Kellman is plain enjoyable with his thick Brooklyn accent, squinting eyes and pursed lips as he waits for the audience to respond to his zingers.

Adding to the fun, twice the troupe plucked two good-natured audience members for impromptu roles.

No myth, carol or seasonal icon goes unskewered, and the result is what The Los Angeles Times called "brashly enjoyable," "a knee-slapping hoot" and "high-spirited fun."

The show has become a tradition of its own at theaters around the country, where regional companies have brought it back four and five years in a row by audience demand. The Orlando Weekly said the comedy "accomplishes the small miracle of making all Christmas myths seem both utterly ridiculous and absolutely essential. Yes, Virginia, you can have your fruitcake and eat it too."

SRT suggests that the show is rated PG for audiences ages 12 and up but some of the content may be way over their head. Indeed, anyone who hasn't seen the old 1960s Claymation TV classics of Rudolph and Frosty will miss references to the elf who wants to become a dentist or the red-bearded lumberjack. Those who haven't watched "It's A Wonderful Life" might want to do that before hand to become familiar with Bedford Falls, Zuzu's pedals or the warp, frustrated old Mr. Potter to fully appreciate and extract the humor from them.

Thursday and Friday performances begin at 7 p.m., Saturday evening performances are at 8 p.m. and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m. Ticket prices range from $24 to $30 depending on the performance day. A special talk back discussion with the cast will be held following the Thursday, Dec. 6 performance.

For more information on content, show dates or to make reservations, call Sierra Rep's box office at 532-3120 or visit