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'A Christmas Cactus' Puts a Spin on Holiday Spirit

Eliot Byerrum's contemporary take on Christmas comes to PowPAC.

puts a film noir-inspired twist on the traditional holiday theme in Eliot Byerrum's  A Christmas Cactus, which is showing until Dec. 22. 

Director Missy Hendrick said although the story takes place during Christmastime, the show's comedic, romantic and mysterious elements make for a contemporary holiday tale.

"There is no Santa Claus. There are no reindeer," Hendrick said.

Audience members meet private investigator Cactus O'Riley (Rhiannon Jones) in the midst of considering closing her business and struggling to rebuff romantic advances from the Deputy District Attorney Windsor (Daniel Sky). 

Although Cactus isn't the typical red-nosed Christmas character, Hendrick said the "tough girl and sexpot put together" makes for a red-hot heroine who is sure to captivate the audience.

The play opens with Cactus and her assistant Fred (Craig Merker) ending their business for the day, when two fugitives (Michael Adler and Ramon Ramirez) arrive at the office, searching for a dead detective. 

As Cactus begins to investigate the situation, Fred's over-the-top mother (Shirley Coggon) appears on the scene and becomes swept away with the delusion that Cactus' case is a Christmas murder mystery party.

Without revealing too much about the play, Hendrick said those who watch the play will "get to walk out with a warm heart" and encouraged anyone who is interested to attend.

"It keeps you in the season without being so entrenched in the season," Hendrick said.

The family-friendly play, shows at 8 p.m. on Fridays, 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays.

All seats for A Christmas Cactus are $15. Tickets are available for reservation at boxoffice@powpac.org or by calling the POWPac box office at 858-679-8085.

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