Review: ‘Adult Christmas’ is a delightful homegrown holiday show

The Grand Rapids all-women comedy group Funny Girls performed a sold-out show last night at Dog Story Theater, with their musical “Adult Christmas: Losing the Magic.” The comedy troupe took us on a journey at Halfway to Heaven Retirement home, through a variety of mediums and performances.

I’ve seen quite a few Funny Girls performances, and I can say with confidence that they really do improve each time I see them. I also feel like I see a new face at each performance, which is great as well. The show was about two hours, with a 15 minute intermission, but the time flew. There were stand up performances, video skits and a couple improv breaks, proving that they can nail every form of comedy.

Everything pretty much stayed on topic of Christmas. The crowd laughed all night and the Funny Girls were just as interactive, looking into the audience and joking with certain people.

The best part about the show were all the different ways the Funny Girls made comedy. In the nursing home, Smith, Eirann Betka, Sarah Jean Anderson and Rachel Gleason stole the show with their performance as the elderly. Smith and Betka played Margie and Leroy, an old married couple waiting to see their grandkids for the holidays. And to be honest, I laughed out loud everytime Betka did one of her long breaths, sounding just like everyone’s really old grandpa. Spot on.

Anderson’s character, Ethel, was erratic, spontaneous and wildly entertaining…and sexual. Anderson’s known for her exceptional character performances within her stand ups, and she really brought it in this show. Finally, Gleason played Sam, a lonely old man who has a negative outlook on Christmas, with a solo song called “Mediocre Christmas,” sung to the tune of “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas.” There were many songs like these performed throughout the night.

All the various skits were incredibly clever, like when Jenna Pope played a little girl who gets a genie for Christmas, but that genie turns ou t to be a knockoff from the real thing.

Some other interesting pieces of the show were the videos that also functioned as a transition for the cast. One of the videos was a parody of Jimmy Kimmel’s Mean Tweets, and was instead called “Mean Notes” - where various Christmas characters like Santa, the Gingerbread Man and an Elf read off mean notes people sent them at the North Pole. Another video/slideshow that aired was when the old folks read the book “How The Grinch Saved Christmas,” with all illustration in the style of Anderson’s signature artwork and characterization. It was truly a show where there was always something to look at, and rarely an opportunity to get bored or distracted.

Finally, the improv was witty and funny. One of the skits that stands out to me was the “Return Desk” where Betka played the cashier at a return desk in a store. There were three customers returning items, and Betka had to figure what the item was and what was wrong with it, based on ideas the audience gave beforehand. It was a hilarious, interactive and impressive part of the night.

Like any community show, there were times where it was hard to see or hear what was happening from a certain angle, but it didn’t take away from the comedic effect. If anything, the intimacy between the audience and the cast adds to the sometimes awkwardness and hilarity.

I would recommend any adult looking for a fun night out and a chance to bash on Christmas a little, dirty humor and all, you should definitely make your way to Dog Story Theater tonight only to catch this show before it’s done.

Adult Christmas: Losing the Magic
Saturday, December 15 and 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Dog Story Theater
7 Jefferson Ave SE