BWW Reviews: Catastrophic Theatre's A VERY TAMARIE CHRISTMAS Is a Roller Coaster of Thrills and Mirth
Tamarie Cooper gives Houston Christmas in July with A VERY TAMARIE CHRISTMAS and it is definitely a treat! She is at it again with her original summer musical, and this year with a book by Patrick Reynolds, music by Miriam Daly and Joe Folladori, and lyrics by Tamarie Cooper, Miriam Daly, Joe Folladori, Miki Johnson, and Patrick Reynolds, she has conceived an effervescent spectacle full of mirth and some of that good old Christmas spirit. It is never early to get in the mood for one of the great holidays ever, right?
Tamarie Cooper makes sure to include everything that anyone could ever need for the biggest holiday of the year. She includes Santa Claus, reindeer, a snowman, snowflakes, Christmas sweaters, presents and even Jesus! There also are some Halloween costumes, crabby relatives, a turkey, cupid, a gopher, along with a slew of other things that might not seem so Christmas-y. Oh don't worry; there is a very good reason for it all.
Tamarie Cooper's A VERY TAMARIE CHRISTMAS is not only about the Christmas holiday but about all of the other holidays as well. In this highly hilarious musical, Tamarie just wants to wish the world a big old Merry Christmas seeing as she thinks it's the greatest most amazing holiday in the world. There is just one problem: she seems to be offending all of the other holidays with her declaration. The other holidays think they should be just as important as Christmas. One argument leads to another and we have Christmas himself quit on the spot. Now which holiday will reign supreme? Well in order to find out, Tamarie sets off on a journey through many a holiday, learning about them, dancing with them, talking to them. There are well known and celebrated holidays, such as Easter, Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving and Halloween. There are also lesser known and celebrated holidays such as Armistice Day, Secretary Day, Groundhog Day, and Earth Day.
As the ever charming star of the show, Tamarie Cooper shines. She holds nothing back, and it is clear that she possesses an exuberant nature. The audience clings to her every move, as she takes us on a rollercoaster ride of zaniness. Tamarie Cooper tells it like it is, and is quite refreshing as her dissection of each holiday examines its strengths and shortcomings.
With direction and choreography by Tamarie Cooper A VERY TAMARIE CHRISTMAS is an exhilarating and stimulating barrel of laughs that takes hold of your brain and does not let go. All of the musical numbers are upbeat and energetic. The fast paced nature of the show does well. As Tamarie goes through each holiday in search of the next big one, there is a never ending parade of dancing and kookiness. The ensemble meshes well together and everyone does a remarkable job portraying each holiday's persona.
Some notable standouts are Kyle Sturdivant 's performances as a coy Arbor Day along with immensely zealous Thanksgiving Turkey, Noel Bowers as the licentious Easter Bunny, as well as fanatical 4th of July, and Greg Dean with his portrayal of a seemingly flippant Christmas. After watching them, I will never think of those holidays in the same way again.
My personal favorite scene from the show is the one featuring Halloween and that is because Halloween is my favorite holiday. Without spoiling too much I'll just say that the audience is in for a treat!
The design aspect of A VERY TAMARIE CHRISTMAS is certainly enjoyable. Costume design by Tamarie Cooper and Claire Anderson is outlandish yet entirely appropriate in this comical show. The costumes involving the holidays are especially fun and add to the many laughs had. Set design by Ryan McGettigan certainly screams Christmas cheer, but it easily fit in with the rest of the holidays. Sound design by Bill Day and Tim Thomson helps accentuate the show and they do a great job making sure everything sounds good and the actors nor the band are overpowering each other. For me, one of the best things about a show is being able to hear everything clearly. That being said, the band with members Chris Bakos, Cathy Power, Loreta Kovaci-Parini and Kirk Suddreath did a good job contributing to the zaniness and even incorporated some fun headpieces during certain musical numbers.
I guarantee that A VERY TAMARIE CHRISTMAS is a great time! It will induce side splitting laughter. I laughed more than I have in ages, and I left the performance buzzed from all of the show's jam packed energy. Go escape the heat and see this quirky "Christmas" musical presented by Catastrophic Theatre. It will be a good time for all...except may be the kids. I would not suggest taking any kids under 13. This is one Christmas that they will just have to sit out.
Catastrophic Theatre presents A VERY TAMARIE CHRISTMAS July 18 - August 30, 2014 at 1119 East Fwy
Houston, TX 77002. For tickets and more information please visit http://catastrophictheatre.com/shows/very-tamarie-christmas/about#tickets.
Photo credit: Anthony Rathbun. Courtesy of The Catastophic Theatre
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