BWW Reviews: NAKED HOLIDAYS 2013: Bare Brr
EndTimes Productions takes the stage for the seventh time with it's annual irreverent nudie treat, "Naked Holidays". As in previous years, it is a collection of sketches and songs about the holiday season with sprinklings of nudity throughout. This year the group has moved to a larger venue, The Cutting Room, but unfortunately most of the sketches this year have not been as amusing as in previous installments (I reviewed last year's offering here). The traditional ending, "The Naked People Play", by Stacey Lane, is as hilarious and chock-full of nudity as usual, but most of the rest of the evening feels like tired vaudeville sketches that meander off into inside jokes. EndTimes impresario Russell Dobular seems to have succumbed to the SNL disease of not knowing how to end a sketch. A lot of the cheeky wit seems to be missing. Hosts Phillip Casale and Kara Addington are charming enough, but their schticky between-act banter runs overlong.
The high points (aside from the aforementioned closer) are an early sketch about Paula Deen as a guest star encountering various stereotypical minorities, and "Total Eclipse of the Claus" a dance piece exploring Santa's wife's fantasies when left alone at the North Pole.
The music and dance is exemplary, as usual; many of the talented performers jump back and forth between the pit and the stage. A dance piece set to Vivaldi's "Winter" is lovely, but neither funny nor naked, which left the audience scratching its collective head, waiting for a punchline.
The new venue led to a few sound mixing problems- sometimes the music overpowered the performers, other times microphones seemed not to be on. The servers bringing food and drink also are a bit more distracting than they might be during a music concert (The Cutting Room's usual fare), and the kitchen staff piling up in the doors to watch the naked finale was an amusing side-effect.
This is the company's move back to Off-Broadway after last year; it seems a bit of an over-reach for a somewhat bland evening. A larger and more expansive (and expensive) venue demands a similar boost in quality, which this year was not delivered. However, the night I attended most of the crowd was elderly, and they seemed to have a lovely and tittilating time.
NAKED HOLIDAYS is written by Russell Dobular and the Naked Holidays Ensemble with additional material by Stacey Lane. It is directed by Russell Dobular and features a production team that includes SeRena Miller (musical director), Tiffany Herrioett (choreographer), Chris Johnston and Sarah Pencheff (costumes), Evan Roby (lighting), Daniel Krause (set) and Jeremy Pape (production manager).
NAKED HOLIDAYS stars Chris Johnston, Dave Chura, Jarrod Bates, Alfredo Guenzani, Mike Wirsch, Kelly Riley, Jack Horton Gilbert, Eddie Rodriguez, Matt Glogowski, Chris Peyseur, Arley Morton, Phillip Casale, Kara Addington, Erika Lee, Alessandra Nahodil, Sarah Pencheff, Alinca Hamilton, Simone Bart, Lee'at Bruhl, Dara Swisher, Sarah Schoofs, Ideozu Adama, SeRena Miller, Samantha Amarel, Meridith Szalay, and Sarah Misch.
NAKED HOLIDAYS runs November 29 - December 30, Saturdays at 7:30PM & 10:30PM and Sundays at 7PM with additional performances Nov. 29, Dec. 23, 26, 27 & 30 at 8PM. The Cutting Room is located at 44 East 32 Street at Park Avenue, accessible from the 6 train at 33rd Street. Tickets are $45 plus a $20 food/drink minimum, available at 212-352-3101 or www.EndTimesProductions.org.
From This Author Duncan Pflaster