Co-reviewed by Matt Ritchey and Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

There’s a wonderful Christmas story about a man dissatisfied with his life, who lives alone, and who has terrible thoughts about other people. And one magical night, he realizes the true nature of Christmas and has a life-altering epiphany. It’s a wonderfully detailed story with a strong narrative and delicious female roles.

It’s called The Christmas Present and it’s playing at The Broadwater Black Box right now. Save your ‘Carol’ for another night and head down to see Guy Picot’s dark comedy about a divorced businessman wanting to cheer himself up by hiring a hooker to visit him in a posh London hotel room over Christmas.

Gia On The Move, Matt Ritchey, Tracey Paleo, theater reviews, The Christmas Present
Mandi Moss and Troy Blendell

Awkward, un-datable Colin (Troy Blendell) articulates a fantasy versus reality scenario with emotional precision as he romps through two versions of his sex date on Christmas Eve – the delectable daydream of an angelic seductress in thigh-high patent leather boots (Sophie Cooper) who perfectly entertains him in every way, and the gracelessly blunt hired hooker (Mandi Moss) who actually shows up.

The actors are all in top form, Blendell giving Colin a sweet sadness which makes him instantly likable despite his creepy intentions, Cooper lights up the stage with ironically innocent energy, and Moss bringing a perfect blend of pathos and humor. The production also has a wonderful set design by DeAnne Millais, and effective lighting.

The Christmas Present is a piece deeply fluent in the language of loneliness. It’s not the traditional family holiday tale out to teach the ‘true meaning of Christmas,’ but then again, as society disappears farther into social media and further from real emotional and physical contact, maybe Guy Picot’s story is exactly the kind of Christmas tale we need.

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Photos by Cory Aycock.  (Above) Sophie Cooper and Troy Blendell

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