Mark L. Lingenfelter in The Santaland DiariesI love David Sedaris' writing, but on those rare occasions when I've heard the author read from his works on National Public Radio, I can only listen to him for a few minutes before feeling compelled to change the station. It's not that his high, reedy voice is unpleasant, exactly. But the caustic self-deprecation and derision that can make his stories so wickedly funny strike me as whiny and ungainly when Sedaris himself vocalizes them, and when he indulges in sentiment, his attempts at honest emotion ring hollow. (His "heartfelt" moments don't sound noticeably different from his sardonic diatribes.) This isn't a huge failing - Sedaris, after all, is a writer, not a performer - yet I still find that a little of him, vocally, goes a long way.

Adam Michael Lewis and Tristan TapscottDegree of difficulty counts for a lot, so director Sean Leary and his estimable cast would earn points merely for the area existence of Martin McDonagh's horrific fairy tale The Pillowman, the latest - and certainly riskiest - endeavor from My Verona Productions.

How wonderful and humbling the last eight months have been.

Adapted from David Sedaris' famed audio presentation and subsequent short story, The Santaland Diaries - the latest endeavor from My Verona Productions, currently playing at Rock Island's ComedySportz venue - is an acting triumph for its star, Adam Lewis. Playing an unmotivated 33-year-old who finds himself - to his abject shame - employed at Macy's as one of Santa's elves, Lewis is spectacular; as he enacts his character's grueling ordeals in a one-man show that's part monologue, part stand-up routine, and part performance-art piece, the actor is thrilling to watch, so brilliantly focused and ceaselessly inventive that he leaves you a bit in awe.

For many stage actors, the chance to perform a one-person show would be a dream come true. For Adam Michael Lewis, this dream has come true, but not, it turns out, for the first time. Or the second. Or even the third.

To understand the nature of My Verona Productions' new stage comedy Dingo Boogaloo 2: Taco's Revenge - indeed, to gain insight into My Verona's co-founders, Sean Leary and Tristan Layne Tapscott - one may as well begin with Chickenzilla.