In the Christmas classic Home Alone, Kevin McAllister is accidentally left behind while his family goes on vacation and…ok, we’ve all seen this movie a thousand times so you know the rest, right? But has anyone ever wondered about the neighbors down the street? “Mike and Marie Love Christmas” gives us a glimpse into these unseen characters’ perspectives. Why weren’t they invited to the McAllister holiday bash and wait, is that Michael Jordan?!
“Mike and Marie Love Christmas,” written and performed by Mike Gospel and Marie Maloney and directed by Rob Grabowski, does a great job in subverting all of the Christmas movies and music we know and love. If you’re a huge fan of the holiday, you’ll appreciate the deep cut Jerry Sein-Elf routine, where Jerry goes through all of the characters who were on the Island of Misfit Toys in the Rankin/Bass feature, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” I grew up with those specials, and knowing that other people in the universe were confused as to why the perfectly nice dolly for Sue was considered a Misfit was almost therapeutic.
If you prefer raunchy humor to tamper the saccharine sentimentality the season brings, you’ll love the “Mike and Marie” spin on Elf on the Shelf, the family tradition currently clogging up your Facebook feed. Gospel makes an excellent Elf, wide-eyed and innocent but also unsettling. In one of the show’s few audience participation moments, the Elf asks someone to give him a name and during the performance I attended, the name thrown out was Nip Donklin. Gospel immediately recognized the beautiful improv gift he was given, and made sure to use the name as often as possible throughout the evening, while teasing the audience member about watching him masturbate.
Maloney and Gospel are also musically talented; the original song that bookends the show has been stuck in my head all week. Another highlight for me was the HR employees at the company Christmas party who were supposed to duet on “Baby, Please Come Home,” but neither of them learned the melody.
If you’re in need of an extra dose of holiday cheer, don’t miss your last 2 chances to see “Mike and Marie Love Christmas,” Fridays at 8 pm at Laugh Out Loud Theater.