If you fell in love with Dina Martina when she was playing funkier, stripped-down venues like Re-Bar, but wonder if her magic translates to a plusher house like ACT’s Falls Theatre, you needn’t worry. For the entertaineress’s Christmas cavalcade of songs, anecdotes, videos, and audience gifts, ACT has provided a cozy set straight out of a community-theater Nutcracker: Victorian furniture, candy-striped wallpaper, a twinkling tree.
But the true miracle of Dina is that her show transcends not only space but time. The format doesn’t change, nor do the comic premises, and it’s all stayed fresh and hilarious for years. Marvel anew at her breathtakingly questionable fashion choices (for one outfit, she wears an epaulet on one shoulder—not on a garment; it’s attached directly to her skin). Relish the skill with which she, with her unflappable accompanist Chris Jeffries, splices seasonal lyrics where they don’t belong (only Dina could repurpose George Michael as a carol).
And be dazzled by the malapropisms (“My mind is a swirl of mammaries at this time of year”). Among her favorite comic gambits, as she careens through the English language leaving destruction in her wake, is to transpose the hard and soft g’s in random words. So bald a description makes the gag (or, rather, “jag”) sound about as comic as a math textbook, but—and I don’t know how she does it—it is never not funny. Never. And it’s been funny for more than 20 years.
As for the “jifts”: Hands shoot into the air like the Let’s Make a Deal audience’s when Dina announces it’s time to shower you—“encrust you, really”—with giveaways. I’ll spoil only one surprise: Be warned that a bottle of KFC-scented sunscreen is not the most tasteless offering. And she offers one present that everyone can take home: the realization that “Jesus Christ” can replace “Santa Claus” in any song. Try it yourself at home for the holidays when your FOX-watching relatives start in about the War on Christmas; nod and agree that we need to remember the reason for the season; and break into a heartfelt chorus of “I saw Mommy kissing Jesus Christ…”
Through Dec. 24. $27–$47. ACT - A Contemporary Theatre, downtown, acttheatre.org