Off-Broadways' 'Let's Kill Grandma This Christmas' offers up dark holiday humor

killgrandmaA.jpgThe program bills the raunchy comedy as "Let's Kill Grandma This Christmas: The Other F**king Christmas Story," so that should give theatergoers a solid clue what to expect.

The off-Broadway comedy, which opened Monday night at Theatre at St. Clements and runs through Jan. 6, is suggested for no one under 13. I'd suggest older, at least 16.

There's nothing wrong with a raunchy comedy; in fact, there's a lot right with it. But unless you are comfortable with your teens hearing explicitly about various sex acts -- with the F-word as a constant adjective, noun and verb -- drugs and extremely adult situations, keep this for adults.

That warning out of the way -- this is fun. Two sisters, Jen and Leigh ( Brandi Nicole Wilson and Katie Webber, Broadway's "Rock of Ages" and TV's "Smash") and their husbands Brett and Carl ( Kevin O'Donnell, Broadway's "Irena's Vow" and TV's "Unforgettable" and James Wirt) gather at the sisters' grandmother's house for Christmas.

Jen is resentful and drunk. She's fed up being the sole breadwinner in her household. Brett was laid off -- or so she thinks -- and while he is finding himself as a writer and smoking pot during the day with his brother, she is working. His brother, Ray ( Adam Mucci), was a Marine, paralyzed in Afghanistan.

Leigh would be a witch if only she were sweeter. It's unclear if she works at anything besides plotting and fine-tuning her enviable abdominals. Her husband, Carl, would be mousy if he could grow a spine. He works constantly and is cowed by everything.

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They gather at Grandma's because she turns 80 on Christmas, and had written her will to leave Lee $2.2 million and Jen her 1880s Victorian house, which needs work. Jen hates the house but Brett sees its potential.

Ultimately, no one but Jen sees any reason to wait for the inheritance. Why not speed it along? After all, Grandma is old.

Roxie Lucas (Broadway's "Damn Yankees") is hilarious as the foul-mouthed, pot smoking cougar grandmother. Some would say she is a conspiracist, others would say she is informed. She doesn't suffer fools; she prefers to shoot them.

It becomes clear quickly that both of the granddaughters' marriages are in trouble. There are many reasons, but Brett being married to Jen while sleeping with Leigh definitely puts a crimp in the sibling and marital relationships.

Brett is insanely lazy and does not love Jen as much as she once loved him. Carl is completely frightened.

Though everyone is good, the performances are often over-the-top. It's a pretty over-the-top notion and actually works well, but it would help to tone it down just a tad.
Photo/Video credit: Ben Hider
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