Ask anyone with a family: The holidays bring out the worst in people. The traditional family get together is a seething cauldron of old grudges, jealousy and long-simmering resentment. Bringing a new person into the proceedings is akin to dropping them into a pit of vipers. And so it is with Clive, a writer who's going to spend the Christmas break with his newish girlfriend, Rachel, at her sister Belinda's house. Belinda and her hubby, Neville, have host of people under their roof already, along with a brood of greedy, grumpy children. Among the more dangerous members of the party are Uncle Harvey, a retired security guard with a penchant for violence; Bernard, who's obsessed with presenting a puppet show as holiday entertainment; and Phyllis, Bernard's wife and Neville's sister, who's a well-lubricated woman at all times. Clive will be fortunate to emerge from his stay with his life. There are no guarantees in Alan Ayckbourn's black comedy Season's Greetings. St. Louis Actors' Studio presents Season's Greetings at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (November 30 through December 16) at the Gaslight Theatre (358 North Boyle Avenue; 314-458-2978 or www.stlas.org). Tickets are $25 to $30.
Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Nov. 30. Continues through Dec. 16, 2012