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Writer Russ Simmons continues his support for She&Her

"While the Kansas City Repertory Theatre has been receiving deserved accolades in national publications of late, many other local companies also warrant credit for making 2010 a zestful theatrical year.

New companies have added a considerable amount of edgy energy to the local performing arts scene.

She&Her Productions established a venue at 1107 Hickory St. in Kansas City, Mo.’s West Bottoms. Their recent offerings have included everything from Neil LaBute’s caustic "The Shape of Things" to the family friendly "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown."



Taylor St. John as Dasher dishes on Santa in ‘The Eight: Reindeer Monologues,’ which runs through Dec. 11.

Looking for an antidote to the saccharine yuletide fare offered up this time of year? You can’t get much more acerbic than Jeff Goode’s scathing comedy "The Eight: Reindeer Monologues," the current play from She & Her Productions.

During a particularly bleak Christmas season, a scandal breaks out at the North Pole as Santa is accused of sexual harassment … by his reindeer!

Corbin Hernandez, Taylor St. John, Melissa Loper and Ayla Glass portray the sleigh pullers, each with an ugly story to tell about St. Nick. No punches are pulled as they expose the jolly old elf as a jolly old pervert.

Goode’s script is often clever, generating a lot of laughs from the absurd situation. But it is also repetitious and grows progressively dark, leaving the audience to squirm a bit as the play takes on a more serious tone.

Fortunately, the actors, under Jeff Newman’s tight direction, deliver their demanding soliloquies with considerable skill.

This unsettling, adults-only farce can’t quite sustain the satiric balance it’s aiming for between the lighthearted and the bleak. But this talented, up-and-coming theatrical troupe certainly shows a lot of promise.

"The Eight: Reindeer Monologues" runs through Dec. 11 at the Crane Building, 1107 Hickory St., Kansas City, Mo. For tickets, call (816) 405-9200 or visit www.sheandherproductions.com.