Department-store Santas are kidnapped by a psychotic man-child in Sean Benjamin’s “The Santa Abductions, ” the Neo-Futurists’ decidedly twisted foray into the realm of Christmas programming. First off, let me say there’s nothing wrong with twisted. Twisted is good. The seasonal treacle that usually passes for holiday fare would be nicely offset by this middle finger shoved so indelicately in the face of tradition and cliché, if only it didn’t bring to mind vague images of Abu Ghraib. Kind of takes the wind of out your sails, don’t it? Fed up with the lies his mother told him about Old Saint Nick, Fred (Jay Torrence, as a man trapped in the mind of a demented 9-year-old) abducts a sidewalk Santa (the exceptionally funny Luke Hatton) and brings him home for some dastardly experiments. Fred’s compulsion? Turn a fake Santa into the real Santa, via the “Santa Maker,” an electric chair disguised as a sleigh. His first few efforts have failed; those that he hasn’t killed live trapped in his home as lobotomized rejects, dubbed Santa 3, Santa 5 and Santa 7. Director Sean Daniels keeps the tone light and ironic, but the torture element has a tendency to smother out much of the sardonic joy in the script. As staged, the play is a bit too talky; if Benjamin actually is making an allusion to the lies we were told about the rush to war in Iraq, this particular forum seems an ill fit. For the biggest laughs of the night, be sure to arrive a little early; Hatton waddles out in his Santa suit and invites audience members to sit on his lap. Hatton is a sharp, loopy improviser and he is just nice/creepy enough to pull the whole thing off—I’d watch him do the Santa-audience schtick all night. (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.