Junk-food Theater

If watching your mother fist-fuck your father is your idea of a laugh riot, look no further than the 4th Kind-of-Annual A Dolt's Only Xmas Pageant, a semiannual, late-night comedy/poetry/ music extravaganza cobbled together by OC Weekly theater critic Joel Beers. If, on the other hand, you find a dependence on lame jokes about shit and crude references to women's genitalia as enlightening as graffiti on the walls of a junior-high restroom, you'd best skip it.

The evening begins promisingly with Bradley A. Whitfield's ominous rendition of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" in a tone so menacing you'll be boarding up your chimney to keep the bastard away from your house. Several of the skits and sketches that follow elicit groans of laughter and are imaginatively performed by the usually sharp Stages ensemble, but most just aren't very good. Some start off engagingly enough—a sharp piece about Pokmon is a prime example—but fizzle out or deliver endings so sloppy as to obliterate any early potential.

Dolt's Only Xmas avoids any real social commentary, providing us instead with the disquieting spectacle of watching excellent actors squander their talents on junk-food theater. There are three exceptions: Wes Walker's brilliant "Sam and Darla," in which two fuck-ups sit in the desert, drink tequila, and talk about love and human sacrifice. It's given an unsettling, memorable delivery by Tracy Perdue and Patrick Gwaltney. Poet Lea C. Deschenes' "All I Want for Christmas" delivers a laundry list of humorous (and often very serious) wishes inspired (and heightened) by the holidays. Finally, Michael M. Miller's dark recitation of Yeats' "The Second Coming" gave me cold chills.

While the show never delivers the intellectual goods, it's cheap—so at least you'll get your money's worth. Will it leave a lasting impression? No. But if you have $6 burning a hole in your pocket, it's better than throwing it in the street.

The 4th Kind-of-Annual A Dolt's Only Xmas Pageant at Stages, 400 E. Commonwealth, Fullerton, (714) 525-4484. Thurs.-Sat., 10 p.m.; Sun., 8 p.m. $6.

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