Like Yellow Tree's Christmas Lake plays, A Hunting Shack Christmas centers on a relatively normal couple facing a possibly life-changing event who encounters some ridiculously Minnesotan characters. Charlie and Jennifer live a perfectly comfortable life in "The Cities," but perhaps one that's lacking a bit of adventure. On the eve of their 10th anniversary vow renewal, Charlie skips town to head to his grandfather's hunting shack to contemplate his life and the changes he's being forced to make. Jennifer is upset that he left, and follows him to the rustic shack. Much to their surprise, Charlie's eccentric uncle Paul and (sort of) aunt June and cousin Ham are squatting in the cabin, and are none too happy to have their lives interrupted by this "citiot." Charlie and Ham bicker like boys, and even engage in some hilarious slow-mo childish fighting. But at the insistence of Aunt June, everyone makes peace with each other, and Charlie and Jen decide to make a change for the better. This oddball family lives happily ever after in their cozy hunting shack (at least until the sequel).**
|cousins Ham (Max Mars) and Charlie (Nick Wolf)
(photo by Kevin Wheeler)
The set is littered with items you might find at a cabin up north, including a rack of boots and outerwear at the entrance. An old fridge, well worn comfy furniture, and stockings hung up on the wall complete the festive look. The costumes are, like everything in the show, hilariously stereotypically Minnesotan and "Up North" (props, costumes, and set design by Lisa Fulton).
A Hunting Shack Christmas continues through December 29. Camp offers a relaxed atmosphere that had the audience talking back a little too much for this Minnesotan theater-goer, but which does allow for a more celebratory mood (the literal buckets of beer one can purchase also help in that respect). I recommend going early and having a meal at one of the restaurants on the same block (Keys Cafe, Black Sheep Pizza, and Sawatdee Thai to name a few). Metered street parking is available in the neighborhood, or at a few nearby lots. No need to drive 300 miles through a snowstorm, this Northern Minnesota hunting shack is easily accessible and without the offensive smell.
*You can read about all of the holiday shows I've seen here.
**Plot summary borrowed from what I wrote about the 2014 production.