Having fun yet? Sandra Tsing Loh’s “Sugar Plum Fairy” (at South Coast Repertory through Dec. 24) is sure to double your pleasure this season whatever your religious preference; despite its Christmasy trappings, it has a multicultural elf aboard its sleigh to celebrate Chanukah and Kwanzaa. In addition to her first-rate abilities as a storyteller, Loh displays a genius for audience involvement here—singalongs, balloons, popcorn and more—that’s bound to pump up the fun quotient for your holidays.

As with Loh’s previous SCR outing, “The Madwoman in the Volvo,” it’s essentially a solo show for three actors; Tony Abatemarco (who’s especially good) and Shannon Holt support Loh playing mother and sister, schoolmates, ballerinas and other characters. Under Bart DeLorenzo’s canny direction, “Fairy” hilariously relates Loh’s adolescent experience auditioning for a dance school production of “The Nutcracker” when she isn’t making local jokes and joshing with the audience.

Speaking of fun, tops among TV shows newly available on home video is “Doc Martin: Series 8” (on DVD and Blu-ray from Acorn Media) with Martin Clunes, Caroline Catz, Ian McNeice, Eileen Atkins and other regulars. Despite the show’s endurance, I’m happy to report they’re all back in fine form, as are the scripts. The set includes 8 episodes, plus a bonus disc. I can also recommend an earlier Clunes program (on DVD from Acorn) equally perfect for binging, the tragicomic “William and Mary” co-starring Julie Graham.

Stocking stuffers worthy of your time: Marcel L’Herbier’s newly-restored 1924 avant-garde fantasy “L’Inhumaine” (available from Flicker Alley in a Deluxe Blu-ray Edition); the Muslim-Jewish romantic comedy “Peace after Marriage” (on DVD from Film Movement); “Family Life (Vida de familia),” a Chilean drama from two of the country’s most acclaimed young filmmakers (on VOD from Monument Releasing.

And still more: Peter Greenaway’s drama of love, death and revenge,“The Pillow Book” (on DVD and Blu-ray from Film Movement Classics); “Susie Blue and the Lonesome Fellas,” an award-winning Retro Western Swing album (available on CD from Seraphic Records).



Author: Jordan R. Young

Jordan R. Young is a journalist, show business historian, playwright and theatre critic. His work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Magazine, Westways, AAA Tour Books, and The People’s Almanac.