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  The Santaland Diaries Reviews
The Santaland Diaries
Goodman Theatre

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Reader- Somewhat Recommended

"...Steve Scott's staging and Strafford's performance at the Goodman have noteworthy moments. Strafford, known for his own solo memoir Methtacular!, is particularly fine at nailing the combination of self-loathing and whimsy that makes up his elfin emotional survival kit, and Kevin Depinet's deliberately garish set reminds us that the aggressive demands for ho-ho-happiness this time of year can feel like an assault on the senses."
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Kerry Reid

Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...The artful and versatile Strafford performs a powerful 70-minute standup act. He describes the process of becoming a Macyís employee and how his unusual and thankless job means greeting lots of people and literally putting on a happy face. Strafford amazes us with his alacrity, authenticity, and spontaneity in breathing life into so many funny lines and realistic anecdotes. To get up there every night and do the perfect monologue (rarely taking a breath or a drink of water) is an extraordinary feat. With his robust expressions and polished antics, he engages the entire audience in his narrative. Wow!"
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Julia W. Rath

Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...Still not an Elf on the Shelf, Mr. Strafford, through his character's sassy, smart-mouthed, often profane comments, roams the stage helping the audience empathize with his situation. Through the actor's honest commitment to his role, we feel the frustration of dealing with rude, pushy parents, screaming children and obnoxious fellow employees. He describes all the various Santa Clauses with whom he's worked, from one jolly old elf who had his routine down to a science, to another Santa who saw his job as a platform for spouting his political views. But, ultimately, the actor brings the evening to a close with one particular tender incident that not only changed David Sedaris, but allows the audience to see the hustle and bustle of the holiday season through more caring, compassionate eyes."
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Colin Douglas

Chicago Theater and Arts- Recommended

"...Strafford did an admirable job of delivering the well-known prose to a highly appreciative audience, including one slightly drunk woman who absolutely guffawed at everything he said."
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Cindy Richards

Chicago On Stage- Highly Recommended

"...The Santaland Diaries is a blunt, very funny look at the strange and sometimes irrational ways in which we behave at this time of year. Though there are indeed moments of pure Christmas spirit here, the bulk of the play consists of Sedarisís very adult, sometimes profane, always uproarious observations about the stress of the holiday season, and letís be honest: donít you sometimes just need that kind of release this time of year?"
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Karen Topham

Picture This Post- Recommended

"...Sedaris did get the job. Stafford, under the direction of Steve Scott, delivers 65 minutes of its hilarity. During elf training - yes, there was formal elf training - "We were taken to the Oh My God Corner...People arriving see the long line and say 'Oh my God!' and it's an elf's job to calm them down and explain that it'll take no longer than an hour to see Santa." Other trials included dealing with vomit, tantrums, toddlers peeing into fake snow, parents aggressively art-directing their children on Santa's lap and customers threatening to have Crumpet fired for lapses in spirit."
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Susan Lieberman