The Christmas Revels at the Marjorie Luke Theatre

Christmas Revels Puts a Medieval Spin on Holiday Cheer

If you go back far enough into the medieval era to celebrate a season like no other, you will be fortunate to get something like this celebratory traditional holiday entertainment by the Santa Barbara Revels Theatre Group. It’s an interactive experience that honors the winter solstice with eating, singing, and dancing all oriented around the Christmas season. The play starts with a comedic introduction by the Fool, who is played by Ed Lee. Lee got the whole audience laughing with his clever mopping act. As the play goes on, things get more interactive with such participatory moments as when the onstage king and queen of the revels choose a new king from the audience. Later, twelve volunteers follow the king onstage to help sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The sing-alongs on such classic Christmas carols as “Deck the Halls” succeeded in getting everyone present into the holiday spirit. As the king of the revels says, “Take Joy!”

Even in these rough economic times, these Revels helps one to realize the true beauty of the holidays. It’s the colors, singing, dancing, food, and above all the sense of unity that makes a real holiday celebration. In addition to the Christmas carols, the Revels includes such poems as”The Hern” by Robert Graves, which tells a beautiful story, as do many of the other ballads performed. Ultimately the greatest strength of The Christmas Revels is how clearly and purely it expresses such crucial holiday messages of community; that the young can and should help the old, just as the wealthy can and should help the poor. In the end, we can all help each other to be more joyful. Just remember, “celebrate and be joyful wherever you may be.”

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