"Christmas Smackdown" ★★★

"Christmas Smackdown" begins with a song about a suicide hotel &#8212 in which the big question is whether to hang the mistletoe or oneself &#8212  and ends with a little riff on the joys of cannibalism. Apart from that, it's quite the cheery holiday show. This fully scripted, four-person musical revue at i.O. is the work of Mark Nutter and Cynthia Carle, who wrote the music and lyrics and jetted into town to direct the performing quartet of Lyndsay Hailey, Tim Soszko, Molly Todd and David Henry Wrigley. "Smackdown" has been a fixture in Hollywood; this year mark its first Chicago appearance. It's not one of those loud and campy, anti-Christmas shows nor any kind of juvenile romp &#8212  Nutter and Carle are no 20-somethings &#8212  but rather a hilarious and lightly warped version of one of those old TV holiday specials.<br>
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<i>Through Dec. 22 in the <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB001032" title="Del Close" href="/topic/entertainment/del-close-PECLB001032.topic">Del Close</a> Theater at i.O., 3541 N. Clark St.; $14 at 773-880-0199 or chicago.ioimprov.com</i>
chi-smackdown-capsule

"Christmas Smackdown" begins with a song about a suicide hotel — in which the big question is whether to hang the mistletoe or oneself — and ends with a little riff on the joys of cannibalism. Apart from that, it's quite the cheery holiday show. This fully scripted, four-person musical revue at i.O. is the work of Mark Nutter and Cynthia Carle, who wrote the music and lyrics and jetted into town to direct the performing quartet of Lyndsay Hailey, Tim Soszko, Molly Todd and David Henry Wrigley. "Smackdown" has been a fixture in Hollywood; this year mark its first Chicago appearance. It's not one of those loud and campy, anti-Christmas shows nor any kind of juvenile romp — Nutter and Carle are no 20-somethings — but rather a hilarious and lightly warped version of one of those old TV holiday specials.

Through Dec. 22 in the Del Close Theater at i.O., 3541 N. Clark St.; $14 at 773-880-0199 or chicago.ioimprov.com

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