Sunday, December 11, 2022

nimbus Presents A Count Up to Christmas

Over on the Hallmark channel, they've been counting down to Christmas with their holiday movies since, oh I don't know, JANUARY. We've been leaning hard into the comfort of these cheesy tales of love and redemption and fake snow and public domain Christmas carols, so we were super excited to check out nimbus theatre's holiday show.  

But wait, you say. nimbus?

Annick Dall, Derek Dirlam, and Tara Lucchino. Photo by Emily Barrera.

The same nimbus theatre whose collaborative, experimental, and devised work tends towards the spooky and serious around the holidays? It's true! In 2022, they have decided to embrace the holiday, and they have gone all out with A Count Up to Christmas, a funny, romantic show that pays a loving homage to the holiday tv movie genre while simultaneously sending it up. 

The show description should sound rather familiar to Hallmark Holiday Movie fans: 

When an Overworked City Person finds herself dumped and unemployed right before Christmas, she heads to a Quaint Small Town in the Heartland to regroup. But things in the Heartland aren’t all jolly and bright as the beloved town Christmas Fair is in danger. Can the town be saved? Can an Overworked City Person find love again? Will there be a vintage truck and a gazebo?

WHAT WILL HAPPEN??? You'll have to go see the show at the Crane Theater through December 18 to find out if there will be a happy ending. No spoilers here!

In all seriousness, nimbus has definitely embraced the holidays with their new show. From the moment we walked into the Crane, we knew we were in for some serious Christmas cheer. There is some serious holiday decorating going on--I think I counted fifteen Christmas trees! Plus, we were encouraged to grab a holiday bingo card on our way in (see pic).

Author's photo

Josh Cragun's script perfectly sends up the Christmas movie genre, and the cast is wonderfully committed to the concept under Liz Neerland's direction.  

Tara Lucchino balances out the weirdness of the townspeople with her "Big City" sensibilities until she too is drawn in by the Christmas Spirit. Derek Dirlam as Deputy Buck Sterling perfectly embodies the aw-shucks small-town lawman and potential romantic lead who has a few rather unusual crimes to deal with. His eager helper is eight-year old Reggie, hilariously played by the adult Alex Stokes. He's EIGHT and has some of the best throwaway lines in the show. 

Christy Johnson, Annick Dall, and Jane Hammill play a variety of delightfully unique townspeople, and Jeffery Goodson is a hoot as the quirky Christmas-enforcing mayor. In addition to the main story, we're also treated to commercials for other holiday movies, which are little gems of holiday weirdness. Three words: Yule Log Lady.

The lavish scenic design by Gaea Dill-D'Ascoli encompasses indoor and outdoor Christmas scenes, and some inventive surprises. Kudos to property designer Ursula K. Bowden for rounding up a perfectly excessive amount of holiday decor. Everything else contributed to the atmosphere, from costumes by Rubble&Ash, lighting by Jon Kirchhofer and sound by Jacob M. Davis. And a shout out to stage manager Alyssa Thompson and assistant stage manager Kelley Yount for keeping the production moving at an impressively brisk pace.

We could share more details, but it's much better--and funnier--if you see it for yourself. So go to the Crane Theater by December 18 to see this festive and charming comedy!