Monday, December 04, 2023

Holiday Play 2

Snowed In, A New Holiday Musical, Created by Corinne Park-Buffelen and Mathew Wright, Directed  by Kelly Kitchens, Arts West, through December 23.

I talked previously about Little Women being a "Holiday Play", in that it a relatively family-safe classic that invokes the holidays, in a similar manner to "Die Hard" or "The Thin Man". Neither of those two movies are ABOUT the holidays, but it provides part of the spine and connectivity of the presentation.

Snowed In, on the other hand is VERY much the holiday play in that it seizes the season by the throat and grapples it into submission. Four performers their piano accompanist decamp to a well-appointed mountain cabin with a killer deadline to come up with a Christmas show. And by Christmas Eve's eve they still got nuthin'. And then they are snowed in. So they are frantically working on producing something while unsure if it is going to see the light of day.

And that's about it for the plot. The Lovely Bride mentioned that it is more of a musical revue than a musical, and she's right - there are a lot of sketches and bits strung through the evening, all tied into the holiday season. There's not a lot of character evolution or overwhelming moral, and the ending is more than just a bit meta. But still, its a really good show, because of the performers.

And I've seen most of these actors before on-stage, which is something that I've mentioned as being a plus for local theatre. Sarah Russell starred in Lydia and the Troll at the Rep. Rachel Guyer-Mafune was in The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion here at Arts West, and Feathers and Teeth at the 12th Avenue. Christian Quinto was ALSO in The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion. Nik Hagen was the new kid for me, and had incredible dance moves. And Riley Brule was the pianist of the group and thematically the most grounded and rock-solid of the characters. All the actors had incredible voices and passionate deliveries (If I had to rank them, Quinto was probably the weakest, but that's just by comparison).  There were a lot of topical references (GPTChat, Tindr) and local touches (count the localities given a nod). The original songs were cool and there were several show-stoppers in the collection. 

But it is a holiday revue. The stakes are not high, and it deals with the whole back-stage musical that actors have loved since Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. It is one of those shows which benefit from an engaged, amused audience, and our Friday night had both, in particular a trio of patrons right ahead of us who were Friends of the Performers AND/OR Drinking Before the Show, since they were loudly enthusiastic about every song. 

In the end, this is a sugared gumdrop of a show, heavy on the sweetness and light, millennial in its sensibilities. It was a fine time had by all. Ho, ho, ho.

More later,