The Oddest Review I’ve ever written

OK, so — what do you do when a local theater sends you an email for the second year in a row stating that you CAN’T review their current production because of some type of royalty legalities….yet it hires professional actors and directors and advertises said production profusely…?

First, this is a blog, I pay for my own tickets to shows I want to see, and I can say whatever the heck I like…BUT, I do like those folks and I don’t want them to get into any type of problem…They have already announced that they will do this show again next holiday season. I guarantee you I will give a full review of that show even if I get another e-mail next season telling me I can’t.

So here is the strangest review I have ever written.

At a local theater, they are producing a fully staged workshop of a musical based on a beloved holiday movie for the second year in a row. The show has been significantly reworked since last season, but remains an inexplicable “hit” at this particular theater despite banal lyrics; dialogue dreck; and pacing that makes the show longer than the movie its based on.

That being said — the show sports a superb cast, and this year, that cast is stronger from top to bottom. Start with the immensely entertaining Rusty Mewha in the lead role. He is mesmerizing throughout the production in a role that is well suited to him. Likewise, Liz Griffith returns for another excellent outing in a role she created last season. Steve DeBruyne also returns in a role that he clearly has fun with, and which brings some humor to this entire affair. Into that mix, add Liz Jaffe who sings well, dances well and is charming; Ed Reynolds who plays menacing well here; John Sartor who turns in a touching performance; and an all-around cast that deserves more than this particular show can give them.  The dances dance. The vocals sound great. In fact, every cast member seems perfectly suited for their particular part — with the exception of two young folks who play younger versions of Rusty and Liz and whisp their way through their song with words that are basically unintelligible, and that’s probably a good thing.

And there it is. The oddest review I have ever written. In short, I loved the performers in this production. They are far better than the material. I’m remaining otherwise silent about the show this season — next season, I’ll tell you what I really think.

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