For the third year, the Society Hill Playhouse in Philadelphia has noted Christmas by presenting the black comedy "The Eight: Reindeer Monologues," an irreverent comedy where eight disgruntled reindeer complain about their boss, Santa, their working conditions, their billing and the personalities of the other reindeer. Each knows that he/she is special, as he/she is one of "The Eight," the most prestigious of all the reindeer in the world.The big topic of discussion among the reindeer is Rudolph the red Nosed Reindeer, who is both disliked and pitied. The position one holds on Santa's team is very important. The idea that the team that has been guiding Santa through sleet, snow and ice for centuries had to rely on Rudolph and his nose on a foggy night insults them. They also are jealous for all the publicity he received by starring in a picture all about him. Rudolph apparently also had a disturbed youth and was taken on by Santa as part of his mentoring work with youth. Rudolph only led the sleigh once, and is currently in a padded cell, for which Santa is blamed.
Santa is blamed for a lot, and as the complaints of whipping, harassment and worse come from all sides, one has to begin to wonder about the jolly old man and his relationship to children. This is not a play for children to hear, but it will make an adult laugh. Each deer has his own personality and accent. There is a South Philly macho man, a Greenwich Village gay, an alcoholic Irish reindeer, a Va-Va-VaVoom reindeer, and so it goes to make a nice diverse group.
The production is by Bckseet Productions, a resident troupe that was founded in 2000 at Emerson College in Boston, but only arrived in Philadelphia three years ago. Next year will be the 50 th year for the Society Hill Playhouse - a stunning achievement.
The show is presented in the Red Room at the Society Hill Playhouse, 507 S. 8th St. This is the downstairs floor with a cabaret set up with small tables and folding chairs. For your $21 tickets you also get a drink that can be bottled water, soda or beer. There are parking garages two blocks away (go down Delancey Street) but to park for the 90 minute show will cost you $14, but you cannot park on the street without the danger of being towed.
This laid back theatre enjoys producing sophisticated tongue-in-cheek plays. You will enjoy seeing them. Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays through Dec. 31. For tickets call 215-923-0210.