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Published: Monday, December 19, 2011, 11:25 a.m.

Choose the hilarious "Christmas Belles" this holiday season

  • Susan Connors,  Austin Gregory  and Laura Hanson

    Photo by James Sipes

    Susan Connors, Austin Gregory and Laura Hanson

There are those heartwarming Christmas shows. And then there's the hilarious.

The Phoenix Theatre in Edmonds is delivering a heaping helping of the latter with its holiday comedy “Christmas Belles.”

And I'll give you a hint of how funny this show is by telling you that during parts of it, my 8-year-old son was laughing his head off, laughing so hard at one point that I was a bit concerned that we'd have to leave our seats so he could get a grip.

It was the kind of laughter that 8-year-olds reserve for potty humor. But here's one of the lines that got him: “Seems like an armadillo came up here and died.”

And of course everything sounds funnier in a Southern accent.

And of course, when you have a cast with the comic timing and delivery that the Phoenix consistently has, you are guaranteed to make an 8-year-old giggle.

Some of my favorite actors are in this production including Phoenix veteran Melanie Calderwood as Rhonda Lynn, along with Kayti Barnett as Twink and Carissa Meisner Smit as Patsy.

But the whole cast is a hoot and a holler.

The story, written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten, is set in the small town of Fayro, Texas where three fighting sisters are trying to keep it together long enough to stage the yearly church Christmas pageant.

At war are the feuding Futrelle Sisters – Frankie, Twink and Honey Raye -- each with her own burdens to bear: very pregnant Frankie, played with great dexterity and clever deftness by Laura Hanson, is weeks overdue with her second set of twins; Twink is a jilted and bitter jailbird and Honey Raye suffers hot flashes while trying to direct the Tabernacle of the Lamb's Christmas Program.

Meanwhile, the ousted pageant director is plotting her takeover, Santa Claus is passing a kidney stone and the entire cast is dropping like flies due to some bad pancakes from the Band Boosters.

This is a fast-paced program with quick, vignette type scenes, all done under the solid direction of Christine Mosere and Sonia Perez. Also hats off to Viveca Sanai for the costumes, in particular the cast's colorful collection of cowboy boots.

During scene changes, one or two members of the cast stand off to the side in the spotlight singing popular Christmas tunes, ending each segment with a bit of wisecracking that sent my son into laughing fits again and again.

So “Christmas Belles” – a belly laughing good time. ‘Nuf said.

And there's just enough time to catch this holiday hilarity.

There are two special performances of “Christmas Belles” at 8 p.m. Dec. 22 and 23 at Phoenix Theatre, 9673 Firdale Ave., Edmonds. Tickets are $18.20 and $15.50. Call 206-533-2000 or
The Phoenix.

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