Theater review: The Twelve Dates of Christmas

From the December 13, 2012 edition

Searching for love occupies most of us at one time or another in life. So identifying with Ginna Hoben’s hapless protagonist, Mary, in her one-woman show, “The Twelve Dates of Christmas,” shouldn’t be a problem.

One Thanksgiving, Mary witnesses the worldwide broadcast of her fiancé in a passionate smooch with another woman at the Macy’s parade. In that moment, her assurance of never having to spend another holiday alone plunges over the epiphanic cliff and back into the dating pool.

Mary spends the next 12 months prancing hopefully from one relationship to another, only to have each hope dashed by circumstance. There’s the pediatrician who turns out to be a serial heartbreaker; the younger Irish bartender she meets on St. Patrick’s Day, no less; “Psycho Joe,” the stalker who spent five years in jail for armed robbery; and, inevitably, the repentant ex-fiancé.

Although some of this is predictable, Hoben relates it all with an engaging, sisterly rapport. She expertly gives distinctive comic voice to several of Mary’s hovering family members, including her eager mother, her perky and newly engaged sister, “Exercise Sally,” and her meddlesome aunt, as well as others she encounters along the way.

The intimate CATCO production has a clear appeal to many women, but any man who seeks a peek into a woman’s psyche in search of hints about how to be and not to be might also find this “Christmas” worth a date.