OREM — UVU’s 7th annual Holiday Night Live was a night of lively sketch comedy. The humor varies from sketch to sketch, and I’d say there was something there for everyone. The audience’s first impression of the show comes from a festive stage adorned with garland, stockings, greenery, lights, and even a few (creepy?) elves. It was as if the cast had raided someone’s grandparent’s garage for old Christmas decorations, and the effect was one of nostalgia and cheeky Christmas movie classics.
The show itself consisted of various sketches that made fun of everything from Santa Claus and family traditions to the latest film releases and Utah culture. The program explained that the show is put on—meaning written, workshopped, acted, directed, designed, etc.—by one of UVU’s musical theatre classes, so the quality of this particular show isn’t the same as that of the school’s mainstage productions. Many of the sketches were entirely predictable and felt more like inside jokes (of which I was not a part) than anything else. On the whole, the intended audience was rather confusing. Some moments seemed to shoot for family-friendly extra-clean laughs, while others contained more mature humor.
Kyle Oram, Andrew Robertson, and Zoe Wilde stole the show again and again with their lethal comedic timing, although Robbie X. Pierce expertly knew how to grab my attention during his many moments in the spotlight. (His crazy grandpa was one of my favorite characters of the evening.) Ryan Cluff‘s spastic character “Buster” also found a special place in my funny bone. The entire cast was a bundle of energy and sarcastic Christmas spirit, which made for a lively show—though not always a side-splitting one.
Regardless, the audience that attended opening night had a great time and laughed more than not. My favorite sketches were by far “The Evergreen Mile” (the story of pine trees on a hill getting ruthlessly slaughtered by Christmas tree hunters), “One Day More” (a rendition of the Les Mis finale sung by stressed-out Christmas shoppers), “Utah Community Chorale” (an attempt at politically correct Christmas classics), and the show’s finale song-and-dance number, “Take ‘Em Down” (a public service announcement of the highest importance: don’t leave your lights up after the holidays). The accompanying film shorts were an extra element I wasn’t expecting, and definitely added to the show. The band—Dave Tinney, Rob Moffat, and Chase Ramsey—did a great job of underscoring and accompanying various sketches.
Though there was plenty of room for polish and tightening, I’d say the show was a success. It was a feel-good night full of poking fun at Christmas traditions and Christmas crazies.