Suffering from sugarplum overload? Too much holiday treacle?
Leslie Jordan's down-and-dirty "Deck Them Halls, Y'all" is an antidote to the cloying sentimentality of the season.
Karen Walker's closeted nemesis Beverly Leslie on "Will & Grace," for which he won an Emmy award, and drag queen Brother Boy in "Sordid Lives."
So it should come as no surprise that Jordan's take on Christmas is a little out of the mainstream, as well.
At 70 minutes, the one-man comedy is more a stocking stuffer than a full-on gift, rowdy and raunchy with even a moment or two — perhaps in an inevitable nod to a reflective season — that ring bittersweet.
The affection of the audience toward Jordan, who has sold out several previous Orlando appearances through the years, goes a long way to making the cursing and adult themes more endearing than shocking.
He's like an eccentric Southern relative — one who might embarrass you but will make you laugh while doing it.
It doesn't even matter when Jordan gets something in his eye, pauses in the script to remove a contact lens, licks it and pops it back in his eye.
"I know it's gross," Jordan says with a what-can-you-do shrug. "You don't get this at the movies."
The crowd eats it up.
In the show, Jordan plays three different characters, all Southern, poor and dysfunctional. He opens in drag as an ex-burlesque dancer, now helping raise her 10-year-old grandson, Ronnie Lee.
Full of laughs, the dancing good-time girl is full of homespun expressions such as, "Her fried chicken can make a Pentecostal put on lipstick." Or: "She was so ugly she could back a pack of dogs off a meat truck."
But don't ask her about the holidays: "Lord, God, I hate Christmas," she huffs.
Turns out her eldest daughter ran away on Christmas Eve years ago and hasn't been seen since.
The audience meets the daughter after a startlingly effective onstage transformation by Jordan: amazing what a mullet wig and fake moustache will do.
Yes, moustache. Because the daughter is considering gender-reassignment surgery. A former crystal-meth addict, she relates a Christmas story of trying to score drugs.
Did I mention this was not typical holiday fare?
Her story can't be as unabashedly funny as the stripper-turned-grandma because there's something so pathetic about her situation. But it does give Jordan the chance to impersonate Elvis Presley singing "Blue Christmas."
With Jordan's third and final character, a dollop of true emotion emerges. Jordan plays 10-year-old Ronnie Lee with a mixture of naiveté and that wise-beyond-their-years way children have of spouting phrases they've heard from adults.
Theater review: 'Deck Them Halls, Y'all'
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