To the list of things about Philly that natives love and tourists don't get (Eagles fans, Mummers, Tastykakes), we could easily add the world premiere of Josh Piven's No Reservations, a homegrown Christmas comedy with a sharp bite.
Piven sets the play, now at the Skybox at the Adrienne, on Christmas Eve at a Lancaster, Pa., bed-and-breakfast owned by Mr. and Mrs. Harris (Jared Michael Delaney and Wendy Staton). Deep in debt, conjugally estranged, and with the place falling apart, they long for their one day off each year to relax. But this being a comedy . . . .
A car crashes nearby, forcing two young women on their way to Bethlehem (nudge, nudge) to stay the night. One is three scenes away from giving birth and might be a pop singer recently gone into hiding. The Harrises see her story as easy money and alert the Internet-media-entertainment industry, which descends on the B&B.
The cast of 11 sports Nativity names: Joey, Martha, television producer Ángel Gabriél, Marie (mistaken throughout for Mary), and New York Times columnist Tom Wiseman. The rest of the humor riffs and rips on Pennsylvania life and traditions (Philly takes a number of hits) and in its satire skewers those who text, tweet, and post every random thought, feeling, or occurrence (not to mention selfies) on Facebook. You know, the type of person who would rather live out scripted versions of lives on reality TV than live boringly. Which is all of us.
Piven avoids the heavy-handed treatment, cleverly developing this larger theme while distracting us with local humor (Intercourse, Pa., jokes) or a trio of interloping carolers who sing debt-collection letters. It's weird, whimsical, and a bit wordy; Mrs. Harris' character can't open her mouth without a paragraph of lines to speak.
But most of all, No Reservations is a lot of fun, a harmless indulgence during the season of stress. With a few tweaks, it could become as much of a local hit for the holiday season as Wawapalooza at the Fringe festival.
Through Dec. 15, the Skybox at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St.
Tickets: $18 to $25
Information: 267-225-7175 or brownpapertickets.com/event/449685