Aside from the Pops, our one Christmas evening out was a trip to Watertown on Saturday to see John Kuntz in David Sedaris' "Santaland Diaries" Downstage at the New Rep. The one-man black box show included two appetizers written by Kuntz, notably "12 Days," a gonzo tale of being courted by a fella who sends him all the birds and leaping lords from the song, verse by verse. "Did I mention that I live in a one-room apartment?" he asks, as the guano piles up. Funny stuff - Sedaris-funny, which is high praise - although an attempt to rachet up the pathos in the last minute or so seemed forced.
The hourlong main event is a monologue tour de force, gleefully crass and often hilarious, with its own quiet pathos of holiday and family desperation. Kuntz/Sedaris recounts his training and service as a Macy's Christmas elf in a tale combining workplace insanity and holiday hypocrisy, while somehow leaving you with a Christmassy feeling of empathy. That I had last seen Kuntz as a possible child-murderer on the New Rep's main stage in "Pillowman" added an extra piquance to his elfin interaction with holiday-crazed and Santa-terrified children. If you've had a rough few days, this might be an appropriate tonic. Performances continue through New Year's Eve.