BWW Review: Troubies Bring Back SANTA and MOTOWN to the Falcon

Santa Claus Is Comin' to Motown/conceived & executed by The Troubadour Theatre Company (Troubies)/directed by Matt Walker/Falcon Theatre/through January 14

This Troubie Christmas Show Santa Claus Is Comin' to Motown was first presented at the Falcon in 2004, so seeing it again was like seeing it for the very first time. Who could remember details from 11 years ago? And also, the Troubies are known for adding new jokes and gags consistently. New jokes about Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton in an election year would not have been in the first rendering of this show. I have always attested to the genius of Matt Walker, Beth Kennedy, Lisa Valenzuela and Rick Batalla, whose improv skills surpass any one else's. If I haven't said it outright before, I'm stating it now, they are THE BEST anywhere. And that goes for the entire gang.

The show is based on a TV claymation special from 1972 about Sombertown and the Kringle family, a motley assortment of deformed creatures - they have just about the worst pig noses, kind of like a botched face lift - who take in a baby whom they adopt as Kris Kringle (Walker). The mom is jolly Valenzeuela. The mean Burgermeister of the town (Mike Sulprizio) upholds the law of no toys in the land, so when Kris and his family make and deliver toys over the mountain, they are thrown in jail. Kennedy plays a variety of roles, including children, but her finest is the Winter Warlock on stilts, a role which she has repeated in many other Christmas shows over the years. It's hilarious with her Edward Scissorhands which cannot hold anything well including a slinky toy that Kris gives her as a gift. Batalla is at his 'overdone' best as the Special Delivery Kluger, dropping mail envelopes everywhere, adding "This is how your mail is delivered." He's a hoot and a half...and is known for lengthening his bits. He will not quit! Let's also not forget Andy Lopez, Joey Keane, Suzanne Jolie Narbonne, Darrin Revitz as Jessica, the town's first lady, Leah Sprecher. Let's not forget musical director Eric Heinly on drums and his band, the choreography recreated by Narbonne and Walker for throwing it all together. Sharon McGunigle is to be lauded for her colorful costumes. Putting the reindeer into brown FedEx uniforms with their name tags sewn on is ingenious.

No one came late last night, so I missed the crew's usual stopping of the action and singing "You're So Vein". It's a highlight of any Troubie show. Watch out for it or be a few minutes late and you'll be nailed...guaranteed!

Motown songs to cherish here include: "I Feel Good", "Chain of Fools", "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "When a Man Loves a Woman", "ABC", "Respect", "It's Your Thing" and of course, "Your Love Is Lifting Me Higher", just to single out a few.

Don't miss the Troubies and Santa Claus Is Comin' to Motown at the Falcon through January 14. You'll laugh your pattooties off and beg for more, but these pros know when to leave...

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From This Author Don Grigware