A blue Christmas with holiday burlesque

Performer Gigi Naglak , a cofounder of Flashpoint Theatre Company, in "Chlamydia for Christmas and Herpes for Hanukkah: More Sex-Ed Burlesque for the Holidays."
Performer Gigi Naglak , a cofounder of Flashpoint Theatre Company, in "Chlamydia for Christmas and Herpes for Hanukkah: More Sex-Ed Burlesque for the Holidays." (Lauren Schwarz Photography)
Posted: December 06, 2011

Grab some eggnog, roast a few chestnuts, don a pair of oversized holiday-colored pasties, and twirl your bazooms.

That's the way Flashpoint Theatre Company is celebrating the season (well, OK, not the roasting chestnuts part or the eggnog) with its world premiere of the unfortunately titled Chlamydia for Christmas and Herpes for Hanukkah: More Sex-Ed Burlesque for the Holidays, shooting forth like hormones racing down the stairs on Christmas morning.

Chlam, which I'll call it for short, is the brainchild, or some other part, of two of the company's cofounders, Gigi Naglak and Meghann Williams, and is directed by a third, Amy Smith. It's an offshoot of a show they did at the Live Arts Festival/Philly Fringe called Chlamydia dell'Arte, which they exported to the Fringe in Washington, infusing the nation's capital with even more lunacy.

The holiday version is, as its name implies, a series of skits for adults built around holiday themes - some merely risque, some bordering on gross, many of them very funny and dumb in a way that befits such an enterprise. The two women seem game for almost anything - if you are going to put on a show like this, you'd better be - and Chlam is peppered with amusing (and sometimes serious) content on a rear-wall screen between skits.

The show is running at the Adrienne Theater in repertory with Flashpoint's traditional holiday show, a dramatization of David Sedaris' insightful and charming The Santaland Diaries, a memoir of his days as a department-store elf. It couldn't be more different from Chlam in content, but the two have in common a showy irreverence.

In the 75-minute Chlam, that extends to feather dancing, striptease with a holiday bent, cooking shows (a cook-with-wine program quickly devolves), a discussion about virgin birth between Mary and Joseph, and a mockery of those K-tel ads on TV that peddle song compilations with quick cuts from each tune playing as titles roll by.

In this case, the collection is "Dildo Holiday Classics," and even as I write I can't help laughing because the idea is so outrageously stupid and its execution so bright. Naglak and Williams, in holiday costumes, stand to the side and sing spoofs as dildo-laden song titles roll on the back screen against a warm holiday background. "Feliz Navedildo" anyone?

OK, I said it was as aptly dumb as it is raunchy. There's a curious gender aspect to this show: If two talented guys did it, we'd likely dismiss them as sophomoric boys who become men, or sophomoric men obsessed with a low-taste locker-room version of macho. Two talented women do it, and it seems funny and emancipated and, if not art, at least a clever violation of it. Gee, what does that say about sexual equality and perception? I'll tell you, after I stop laughing at that dildo thing.


Chlamydia for Christmas and Herpes for Hanukkah

Presented by Flashpoint Theatre Company at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St., through Dec. 17, in repertory with The Santaland Diaries. Tickets: $18-$20. Information: 215-665-9720 or www.flashpointtheatre.org.


Contact staff writer Howard Shapiro at 215-854-5727, hshapiro@phillynews.com, or #philastage on Twitter.

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