“The Gnome in the Room” fills your stocking with campy delights

“Let’s just skip the festivities and get real weird.”

Did you ever wonder why people make such a big fuss about Christmas decorations? When you fill a room with holiday cheer, some of that joy seeps inside you.

When you fill a room with murderous Xmas gnomes… well, something else happens.

Young Joel and his mother escape to the family cabin. Joel’s dad cheated, and Merry is doing all she can to “stay busy, stay distracted, stay positive.” When what to their wondering eyes should appear, but gay uncle Terry, here to commit suicide.

Given the glum mood, Merry offers to skip Christmas entirely. The threat of no presents sends Joel to a dark place. Before long, the family finds themselves in a literal war on Christmas.

This is a fiendishly clever script, full of surprises ranging from a dancing Christmas tree to a snow cannon to a bump-and-grind deliveryman. It’s really tricky to produce new camp, but the actors bend over backward to pull you into the fun.

Jonathan Andujar devours his role as a jolly bringer of presents, projecting puppy-like enthusiasm in a lumberjack’s build. His arrival kicks the show into a higher, more ludicrous gear.

Despite our best wishes, this season isn’t always merry. (Cyndi Parr and Emory John Collinson devastate with their “happiest” Christmas memories.) But at least the glimmer of shiny ornaments gives us hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Just stay away from the gnomes.

Additional Notes:

The sight of Bob Morsch in a Christmas onesie is worth the price of admission.

This play begs for more fluid staging. Multiple bits get bogged down by entrances and exits, to the point where it feels like a meta gag.

Lest we forget, the “tradition” of The Elf on the Shelf started in 2005. My bookstore friends refused to upsell it at the time because it was too stupid.

“The Gnome in the Room” contains excessive profanity, sexual suggestion and elf murder.

Springs Ensemble Theatre
1903 E Cache La Poudre

Playing December 7 – 17, 2017
Admission: $25 suggested donation
Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

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