Theatre ReviewsTom Williams

The Santaland Diaries

By David Sedarissantalogo

Adapted by Joe Mantello

Directed by Joey Wade

Produced by Theater Wit

At the Theatre Building Chicago

Mitchell Pain at home as Crumpet, the elf

Theater Wit’s The Sanataland Diaries has become a holiday favorite for those who want some biting satirical humor to get them into the spirit of the holidays.  David Sedaris’ hilarious story about a 30 or 40 something fail actor desperate for work finds himself one of Macy’s elf’s. Mitchell J. Fain’s sarcastic tone fuels his self deprecating story that produces many laughs.


Fain combines Sedaris’ story, adapted by Joe Mantello, with smart spontaneous adlibs throughout that not only gets laughs but makes audiences relate to Fain’s elf character, Crumpet. For 70 minutes, Crumpet details the chaos, turmoil and adventures that happen during Macy’s Santa Claus in-store exhibit.  Mitchell Fain makes Crumpet, the elf a most empathetic character as he pours out his heart in a most truthful performance. Fain deftly works the situations with quick zinging asides and smart recognition of audience reaction. Fain works audiences effectively.

This cynical glimpse into the world of those dedicated to keeping the Christmas spirit alive. Fain delivers the vignettes about the chaos of the NYC Macy’s Santa Claus exhibit with varying comedic styles. From subtle to silly to poignant to sarcastic to charming, Fain swiftly paints an energetic yet defeated look into the world of holiday helpers. We both laugh and empathize with Crumpet’s plight. Mitchell Fain easily wins us and keeps engaged as we laugh a lot. This show is for those who don’t believe in holiday traditions.


Tom Williams

At the Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL,  call 773-327-5252,, tickets $24, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 & 9:30, Sundays at 3 & 7 pm, running time is 70 minutes without intermission.

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