Review: Theater Wit’s Bawdy and Hilarious Cindy Lou Turns the Table on PC Whoville in Who’s Holiday!

Veronica Garza as Cindy Lou. Photo by Charles Osgood Photography. As kids growing up watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas, we were supposed to take comfort in the piety and altruism of the denizens of Whoville. It was a magical place where everyone holds hands and sings with happy upturned faces around the Christmas tree—even though they had all been robbed on Christmas Eve. It is a turn-the-other-cheek-and-forgive fable of redemption. Well, Cindy Lou Who is all grown up and splashes a highball of vodka and gin all over that treacle and sets it aflame. Matthew Lombardo's script and Theater Wit's production of Who’s Holiday! is just the thing to get your holiday groove on. Veronica Garza is a one-woman spectacular as Cindy Lou with rosy cheeks and a wide-eyed gaze. Stir in shots of vodka, some chain smoking, and a nice tramadol to even things out, and you have a reason to be jolly. Cindy Lou now dwells in a trailer on the wrong side of Whoville on Mt. Crumpit. It’s Christmas Eve and all of her friends from the Seuss-hood are calling off on her party. Yertle the Turtle’s wife is laying eggs. One Fish and Two Fish along with the Red and Blue Fishes have asthma attacks. Cindy Lou takes it all in stride. They don’t want to be seen with the town slut. Gasp! Cindy Lou Who and the Grinch hooked up when she turned 18 and her parents would not have an interspecies marriage in their family. They should have called the cops on the Grinch even when he gave all of their stuff back. They should have kept the dog Max too. I hate it when good dogs happen to bad anthropomorphic creatures. Veronica Garza in her trailer as Cindy Lou. Photo by Charles Osgood Photography. The entire dialogue is done in Seussian rhyme with a number of vices and fun cuss words instead of all that goodness. Garza raps, sings (beautifully) and plies three lucky audience members with a one-shot bottle of Malort and pigs in a blanket. Some of that dialogue may have been improvised, but it blended in with the story seamlessly. Director Christopher Pazdernik does a stellar job of pacing and blocking the action. Solo shows can give off a claustrophobic vibe without a steady director at the helm. The show goes up another level with Angela Weber Miller’s design. I felt like I had walked into the animated original if it had taken place on the shady side of Whoville. The colors are saturated tones of mid-century madness down to the avocado green sink and whirligig wallpaper. Cindy Lou has an electric green bong that gets a big laugh. I’m sure it was the vivid color that caused such a ruckus. Mad props to properties designer Lonnae Hickman. Everything about the show was well-balanced and kept things firmly in the satire zone and away from dystopian. Playwright Matthew Lombardo keeps the one-liners popping right along up until the end of the play. Who’s Holiday, a very adult comedy, adds emotion and a tug of the heartstrings with a bit of pathos toward the end. After all, Cindy Lou has seen some stuff and calls Whoville out for being hypocritical bigots against her choice of who/what she loves. No one wants to come to her party, her family has disowned her, and she just got out of the joint for a crime that has both hilarious and shocking circumstances. Everyone gets to sing along to a Christmas carol that adds the one touch of maudlin to a very tight and high energy show. It’s fun, it’s unexpected, and will kick off your holiday merrymaking from the moment you walk in to the melodious crooning of Frosty the Pervert. Take a break from stressing over your secret Santa, year-end goals or whatever. Stuff their stockings with tickets to Who’s Holiday. Theater Wit also has a special holiday cocktail menu including a chocolate-infused treat called Cindy Lou’s Little Helper. It is sure to warm the cockles of your heart before enjoying the show. Who’s Holiday runs through December 26 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets for $18-$35 are available here. It's for mature audiences only, as you may have guessed. Guest author Kathy Hey writes creative non-fiction essays. A lifelong Chicagoan, she is enjoying life with her husband, daughter and three dogs in the wilds of Edgewater. When she isn't at her computer, she is in her garden growing vegetables and herbs for kitchen witchery. Did you enjoy this post and our coverage of Chicago’s arts scene? Please consider supporting Third Coast Review’s arts and culture coverage by becoming a patron. Or make a one-time donation by PayPal. Choose the amount that works best for you, and know how much we appreciate your support!
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Kathy D. Hey

Kathy D. Hey writes creative non-fiction essays. A lifelong Chicagoan, she is enjoying life with her husband, daughter and three dogs in the wilds of Edgewater. When she isn’t at her computer, she is in her garden growing vegetables and herbs for kitchen witchery.