Go Deeper

Holiday plans? Look no farther than Norristown

Posted December 8th, 2010

UPDATE: The first 3 people to donate $35 online today will win a pair of tickets to see Theatre Horizon’s “The Very Merry Xmas Carol Holiday Adventure Show,” featuring Festival artists Justin Jain, Dave Johnson, Brian McCann, and Brad Wrenn! CLICK HERE TO DONATE ONLINE NOW AND GET YOUR TICKETS

LAB Fellow Alex Torra teams up with some of our favorite Fringe funny guys The Berserker Residents and Theatre Horizon to create a comedic romp for the holidays. The Very Merry Xmas Carol Holiday Adventure Show reveals a nontraditional vision of the holiday – and of ourselves – that is bizarre, illuminating, and of course wickedly funny.

The arctic adventure follows three unlikely friends as they battle a mysterious and malevolent force that is unraveling the tradition of Christmas. The trio of snowman, red-nosed reindeer, and man from London-town are the very last hope in stopping the whirling, howling villain known as Xmas from devouring all Christmas tales, and indeed the very spirit of Christmas itself. The three heroes find themselves tossed into a dizzying world of mixed-up Christmas stories where each page in the storybook bleeds into the next. But how can such wildly different creatures ever hope to get along when a great dark void threatens to erase every Christmas story ever told?

Called “wonderfully wacky” by The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Berserker Residents – made up of Justin Jain, Dace Johnson, Tim Sawicki, and Brad Wrenn, have been compared to Monty Python and Saturday Night Live. Having created Philly Fringe hit Annihilation Point (2009), The Bersekers have proven themselves as experts in creating original comedic work.

The performance is only the latest in a string of work delivered by creative busy-man Alex Torra, who directed Punchkapow last month (blog story here) and performed in Cankerblossom in the 2010 Live Arts Festival (show page here). Torra is also busy as a 2010-2011 LAB Fellow (more on that here).

Norristown-based Theatre Horizon continues its tradition of working with up-and-coming top Philadelphia artists to present never-before-seen shows for families to experience together at the holidays.

So, why “holiday adventure?” The Berserker Residents spent six months brainstorming plot twists, experimenting with costumes, improvising dialogue, and figuring out how to create dozens of characters with just four live actors. Head writer Sawicki offers some insight: “The content [of the script] is constantly changing, and nothing is sacred – everything is fair game. If a new, hilarious bit is discovered later in the process, you might find yourself altering a large segment of your show.” Sawicki says that keeping the material fresh and topical is a challenge specific to comedic collaboration. “Keeping that sense of fun even after you have a finished product is a unique challenge in this type of process.”

Feeling adventurous this holiday season? We are.

The Very Merry Xmas Carol Holiday Adventure Show
Written by Justin Jain, Dave Johnson, Tim Sawicki, and Brad Wrenn
Directed by Alex Torra

Runs December 9 – December 31
208 DeKalb Street, Norristown, PA 19401

Recommended for ages 10 to 110
All regular performances: $27 for adults, $24 for seniors, $21 for students and children

For tickets and more information visit
Or call the box office at 610-283-2230

Artistic Staff: Director Alex Torra; Set Designer Lisi Stoessel; Lighting Designer Maria Shaplin; Composer/Sound Designer Daniel Perelstein; Props Designer Keighty McLallen; Stage Manager Cherie Tay

Dan Comly