“Who’s Holiday” is Who-larious at Human Race

Review by Bryna Chandler

The holidays are always filled with yearly family-friendly productions such as The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol. Luckily for those looking for more adult-oriented entertainment during the holiday season, The Human Race Theatre Company is bringing back Who’s Holiday! to entertain Dayton residents from December 8th to the 23rd.

Who’s Holiday!  written by Matthew Lombardo is a wildly funny, raunchy, mature, yet still heartwarming comedy that tells the story of everyone’s favorite Whoville resident, Cindy Lou Who. It is entertaining and fascinating to follow along as Cindy Lou recalls meeting the Grinch and the unlikely twists and turns her life has taken since that famous night that the Grinch stole Christmas.

Alex Sunderhaus repeats her role for the second year as the still charming yet trashy Cindy Lou. In typical Seuss fashion, this one-woman production is mostly done in a childlike poetic style. However, the dialogue is far from juvenile, and Sunderhaus rhymes with ease.  At times Sunderhaus’s energy propells her voice to a Fran Drescher intensity, yet becomes reminiscent of Loretta Lynn when she spontaneously breaks into favorite holiday songs. Sunderhaus’s portrayal of Cindy Lou Who makes you feel like you’re a guest at her Whoville holiday party.  Just make sure you grab a drink at the bar beforehand so you can toast, drink, and celebrate with Cindy.  Yes, she even has snacks.

Scott J. Kimmins’s scenic design brings Cindy’s trailer to the Loft Theatre, complete with park trash and cartoon-like colors. Upon entrance, it is immediately evident that Kimmins has successfully turned the intimate Loft Theatre into a fun and festive ambiance that allows Cindy Lou to communicate and interact with the audience. Zoe Still’s costume designs are fun flirty and totally in character for Cindy Lou. Alongside John Rensel’s lighting and Alexander Koker sound, the design concept is seamless and easily transports you to the colorful and playful mountains outside Whoville.

Director and Human Race Theatre Company Resident Artist, Joe Deer does an exceptional job juggling the youthful spirit of Cindy Lou with sex, drugs, and R-rated twists of the story. It is guaranteed that during the production, at least once you will be offended, empathetic, and possibly even able to see yourself in Cindy Lou Who’s adorable shoes.

Cindy Lou Who on the phone
Alex Sunderhaus in WHO’S HOLIDAY! 2022 at Human Race Theatre, Dayton Photo by Scott J. Kimmins

The Human Race Theatre Company’s production of Who’s Holiday! at the Loft Theatre is filled with rap, rhyme, and radiant holiday lights making it a “who-larious” evening of entertainment perfect for an adults-only night out on the town. Just like the holidays themselves, time flies by in this one-act 70-minute production. As there is no intermission you will want to grab a drink before the show–possibly a can of “Exit Stage Left”, a Branch and Bone Artisan Pilsner created in collaboration with The Human Race Theatre.  Can’t find a babysitter for the kids? Check out the special “Parents Night Out” Performances, where kids 5-12 can enjoy a holiday-themed theatre workshop in the 2nd-floor rehearsal room from 4:30 – 6 PM while parents enjoy the show upstairs. 

Who’s Holiday runs until December 23rd. Tickets can be purchased HERE.

Bryna Chandler has a lifelong love for the stage, being raised in a theatrical family. She attended CCM as well as SIUE for design and dramaturgy. An amateur playwright her work has been performed in OH, CA, NV, and numerous fringe festivals. Her writing and design background led her to marketing, where she is currently the Digital Marketing & Communications Coordinator for the School of Business at UD.