Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wetumpka Depot: "Fruitcake and Eggnog: A Tacky Christmas Sweater Extravaganza"

The Wetumpka Depot Players are ringing in the Christmas Season with their comic (mostly) pastiche called Fruitcake and Eggnog: A Tacky Christmas Sweater Extravaganza, and those tacky sweaters we've all come to cringe and laugh at are much in evidence both on stage and in the audience.

In about an hour and a half, the cast of seven mix traditional Christmas Carols with holiday novelty songs, children's letters to Santa, bits of witty banter concerning that eponymous fruitcake, comments about the commercialization of Christmas, little-known historical facts [Did you know, for example, that in 1836 Alabama was the first State to make Christmas a legal holiday?], Christmas traditions around the world, touching personal reminiscences, Southern versions of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and "'Twas the Night Before  Christmas", and several needful reminders of the true focus and significance of Christ's birth...a lot to pack into ninety minutes.

Written and directed by Tom Salter, and with seasoned Depot regulars sharing his stage, the informality of this production is so comfortable it's as if we've been invited into someone's home for -- well, fruitcake and eggnog...and healthy doses of Christmas cheer.

The ensemble -- Jennifer Habercorn, Cheryl Jones, Kim Mason, Cindy Veasey, Jeff Langham, David Woodall, and Mr. Salter -- are gracious and talented folks so much like all of us that we willingly go along for the ride. They clearly enjoy one another's company, and we do too; and so we willingly forgive the occasional missed cue, static moment, or vocal hiccup. In fact, these make it even more fun.

At a time when the calendar is getting more and more hectic and stressful as it gets us closer to December 25th, the infectious good spirits of the Depot Company provide a welcome relaxed atmosphere, a warmth of heart, and a celebration of family and good will of the Christmas Season.