Belinda and Neville have problems of their own — although Neville (Eric Dean White) is usually too busy tinkering with his tools to notice. The much put-upon Belinda might be the play's best-developed character. As portrayed with tart poignancy by Emily Baker, Belinda knows that life is passing her by and she doesn't know how to catch up. She surely doesn't want to end up like her big brother Bernard (Phillip Bozich), an abject failure who's only happy when indulging in the imaginary world of puppetry. (Season's Greetings includes the mother of all puppet shows.)

Bernard's blowsy wife Phyllis (Teresa Doggett) can be dangerous when drunk. Doggett and Bozich are both quite brilliant in this Christmas variation of Edward Albee's George and Martha. Doggett can slur her vowels with the best of them; Bozich's diction is painstakingly precise. He can spit out the word "ne-ga-tive" with the directness of a laser beam.

Season's Greetings is not the same kind of comedy as The Foreigner. Shue's play is infused with bonhomie. The Foreigner believes all's right with the world, even one that's infiltrated by sleazy ministers and bullies. Season's Greetings is more cynical than that. Though its laughs may be more fitful, the unhappy relationships ring truer.

Location Info


Loretto-Hilton Center

130 Edgar Road
Webster Groves, MO 63119

Category: Performing Arts Venues

Region: Webster Groves

Gaslight Theater

358 N. Boyle Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63108

Category: Performing Arts Venues

Region: St. Louis - Central West End


The Foreigner
Through December 23 at the Loretto-Hilton Center,
130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves.
Tickets are $16 to $79.
Call 314-968-4925 or visit

Season's Greetings
Through December 16 at the Gaslight Theater,
358 North Boyle Avenue.
Tickets are $30 ($25 for students and seniors).
Call 314-458-2978 or visit

One could nitpick at the production. Why, for instance, does director Elizabeth Helman allow the plaintive Rachel to be so loud throughout Act One? And a nine-character play strains the limitations of the narrow Actors' Studio playing space. On the other hand, it is always a treat to see an Ayckbourn play. Over the decades he has enjoyed the occasional Broadway success with Absurd Person Singular, Bedroom Farce and The Norman Conquests. But it's puzzling that a playwright who has written more than 70 full-length plays and is a treasured institution in England remains an acquired taste in America. To be introduced to Season's Greetings, a heretofore-unseen Ayckbourn comedy, is this year's earliest Christmas gift.

« Previous Page