Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review: The Troubies' The Snow QUEEN - 80 Minutes of Rocker Heaven

Misty Cotton and company. Photos by Jill Mamey.

While the kids are busy getting their pictures taken with Santa at the mall and begging for overpriced toys they’ll forget the day after Christmas, adults know that the place they’ll get the most bang for their jingle bell bucks is at the Falcon Theatre. That’s where the latest Troubie show is roasting its comedy chestnuts in its own unique style while providing one of the wackiest soundtracks to the holiday season.

This year’s recipe for success includes, but is not limited to, the following:

1. A story that’s ripe for poking, typically one that everyone knows. This year it’s Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. (Buckle up your boots Gerda and Kai, you’ve never met an ice queen like this before.)

2. A dozen or so songs by a well-known musical artist or group, preferably rock or bands of the ‘70s and ‘80s, done up with original lyrics to inflate the humor. In 2014, it’s the year of Freddie Mercury and QUEEN. ‘Nuff said. Well, except that the band members are also part of the story and make their acting debuts front and center. They’ve even got lines. And Eric Heinly’s band has the kind of Saturday Night Live sound with only four musicians - musical director Heinly on drums and percussion, Kevin McCourt on keyboards, Mike Abraham on guitar, and Dana Decker on bass - that shows this company means business.

3. A leader (Matt Walker) who boldly goes wherever he wants to and a fearless band of thespians who follow him out into the great comedy beyond and back again. In addition to the usual suspects (Beth Kennedy, Rick Batalla, Joseph Keane, and Lisa Valenzuela) who are on their game every minute, you’ll find first timers like a popular west coast musical theatre diva (Misty Cotton) and a celebrated commedia queen from America’s Got Talent (John Quale), both of whom make the house rock to the rafters. Disclaimer: no cast members were harmed in the making of this theatrical masterpiece...or audience members...although one unsuspecting woman did get her head stuck in a raven’s bill while trying to decide whether to help said raven with his wedgie.

4. Puppets! And who doesn’t love puppets. It’s like kittens, only better. (I know...random, right?) These are created by Matt Scott.

5. Snow...like you’ve never seen it before. In Troubie hands, even the snow is a bit, and only one of the imaginative ideas that set designer Jeffrey McLaughlin, prop designer Corey Womack and lighting designer Jeremy Pivnick have created by mixing humor with practicality in their design elements. Without a doubt, the production team is as wacked as their onstage counterparts.

6. Clothes that make the man - or a little Danish girl and her lederhosen-clad brother; or a narrator on stilts in very long pants; or a crazy old woman with locks to rival any hair band member; or a two-headed pinhead chorus member a la American Horror Story: Freak Show; or a glittering drag queen in a three foot tall ice sculpture wig; or an adlibbing male raven in a skin tight black unitard...(think about that for a minute); or a robber girl whose buck teeth can’t detract from her youthfulness and good heart. All of them come from the happily silly and slightly warped mind of Sharon McGunigle who fits right in with the rest of the gang.

Put all the pieces through the creative wringer and you have a rock operetta-style comedy that will give you the best night of laughs you’ll have all year. I wouldn’t miss one their shows for anything and you shouldn’t either. The Snow QUEEN is outlandish fun and the one show that just might get you through the holidays with your sense of humor intact. GO!

Matt Walker as the Narrator

Beth Kennedy as Old Woman

L-R: Joseph Keane, Misty Cotton, Breanna Kelly, Jen DeMinco,
and Darrin Revitz

John Quale as the Snow Queen

L-R: Rick Batalla, Darrin Revitz, Jen DeMinco, and Breanna Kelly

Beth Kennedy and Lisa Valenzuela

Joseph Keane, Lisa Valenzuela and Misty Cotton

December 3, 2014 - January 18, 2015

Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505
Performances: Wed. – Sat. at 8pm, Sun. at 4pm & 7pm
No shows Dec. 24 & 25, or Dec. 31 & Jan. 1
No 7pm show on Jan. 11 or Jan. 18
Added shows Dec. 27 at 4pm, Jan. 3 at 4pm 
Tickets: (818) 955-8101 or www.FalconTheatre.com

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