Maybe it was stress associated with the rebranding of Shadowbox Live or the pressure of the upcoming move to the Brewery District, or maybe finishing the last sketch show just kept them too busy.

Maybe it was stress associated with the rebranding of Shadowbox Live or the pressure of the upcoming move to the Brewery District, or maybe finishing the last sketch show just kept them too busy.

No matter the reason, "Holiday Hoopla XIX" finds the Shadowbox Live crew working at about 75 percent of their normal outrageous radiance. The show, which has become a local holiday tradition, is still witty, timely and lots of fun, but something's definitely missing.

Sketches like "The Gift Wrapper," in which an elderly woman (Amy Lay) offers her insight on poor gift choices, and "Holiday Customs," where Santa (David Whitehouse) is forced to deal with stricter airport regulations, are certainly still amusing, but the jokes are a little too one-note to stand out.

I'm happy to report that cheesy lounge act The Santa Babies (Julie Klein, Katy Psenicka and Stephanie Shull) are still in top form. Between the clever songs, the audience participation and the always wonderfully inappropriate panty-flashing from Psenicka, this trio shows exactly why they've been a staple since the first "Hoopla" show.

Sadly absent this year is a separate dance routine, but there is a well-done dance during Lay's performance of The Kinks' "Father Christmas."

Song highlights include Nikki Fagin and JT Walker III's duet on Joni Mitchell's "River;" Stev Guyer's take on Emerson, Lake and Palmer's "I Believe in Father Christmas;" and a female quintet (Klein, Shull, Fagin, Jennifer Hahn and Noelle Grandison) performing "Silent Night."