BWW Review: WILL SANTA DRINK CANADA DRY? OR GO TELL IT TO THE MOUNTIE at Mosley Street Melodrama

Wichita's most unique theatre is located at 234 N. Mosely Street. Like the street's name, Mosley Street Melodrama is home to some of the best talent Wichita has to offer and presented in true melodramatic style. Now, if you have never been to a Mosley Street production, there are a few things you ought to know. Every time the heroine enters, you sigh. For the hero, you cheer. But if the villain is cunningly conniving, you boo and hiss. The first act is a melodramatic featured presentation while the second half is a musical revue. Filled with inside jokes only a true Wichitan would understand, Will Santa Drink Canada Dry? Or Go Tell it to the Mountie caps off the theatre company's year in true Christmas-comedic fashion.

Local favorite Tom Frye wrote and directed a hilarious script that alludes to something often spoken as taboo: a ménage à trois. If you don't know exactly what that entails, picture a hotel set in the mountains of no importance and you will find six characters earnestly played by five local actors. How can it be done? With a raspberry beret, of course, paired with the song by Prince, a sound cue effectively played here by sound designer Anna Rosell. Steve Hitchcock (MTW and Forum Theatre), played two characters seemingly at once: one French and one American. When entering as Randy Reindeer, Hitchcock wears a beret to distinguish his Francois flair. But quickly switching back to American, he lost the hat and the accent and became Rudolph Reindeer, the questionable cousin of Randy. Hitchcock's timing was impeccable, changing between characters so much so you could hardly blink. The same went for his affairs with Noel Navidad (Jaslyn Alexander), and Jingle Bells (Julia Faust). Even Kris Kranky (Max Wilson) got in on the hanky panky. But it was Jenny Mitchell, playing Mrs. Santa Claus, who showed up to deliver. Mitchell, Executive Director of Laughing Feet, produced lines so blunt and intoxicating the audience rolled with laughter Santa could hear all the way to the North Pole.

While most of the jokes and slapstick comedy was appealing, others were saved by the actors themselves. What really made this production was the personal relationships with each other. The actors were having great fun, and so was the audience. It was also worth noting that this melodrama ended with song, a bit of a change to their usual format.

The second half, as mentioned previously, was the musical revue entitled A Jumpin' Jazzy Christmas. Musical director Karla Burns, using smart assistance from Steve Rue, used her expertise to get the fab five grooving and singing in pitch perfect harmonies and solos. It was absolutely fantastic to see fresh talent take the stage. Julia Faust belted a wonderful Christmas tune at the top of the show, whereas Jasyln Alexander showcased her pipes for Santa Tell Me, a song made famous by Ariana Grande and certainly delivered just as well as the famed singer. Mitchell gave a solemn solo with Oh, Holy Night that rang the rafters of the theatre, taking everyone to church. All three ladies did a wonderful job singing a three-part harmony version of All I Want for Christmas is You.

If you decide to go to a Mosely show, beware of sitting in the front. You're bound to be picked for audience participation, but as always, it is tastefully and tactfully done. Throughout the revue, Max Wilson would suddenly pop up out of nowhere as the elf on the shelf brilliantly singing, Every Breath You Take made famous by the band The Police. Both Steve Hitchock and Wilson really got the crowd going on the Twelve Days of Christmas, a medley arranged by Rue himself. With simple choreography by Hitchcock, the five actors moved efficiently to the holiday music. Unfortunately, I couldn't help but notice that at the end of the revue, there were only four wireless mics and not enough for all five performers. With continued support of this venue, surely a fifth mic could be found by the first day of Christmas.

And finally, after 21 seasons with the melodrama, owner and operator Patty Reeder steps down from her beloved ranks for a much-needed break to focus on new adventures. She passes her role to new owners Brandon Hathaway and Monte Wheeler. In the closing remarks of the program, she leaves us with this: "The concept and name won't be changing, and, with fresh blood and energy, Mosely will be better than ever. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for supporting Mosley and me all these years and for also supporting live theatre in Wichita. Fondly, Patty Reeder." Look for an exclusive interview with Reeder in the upcoming days to see what she'll be up to next!

The 2019 Mosley Street Melodrama Season is set to open February 8th with The Gold Miner's Daughter or Who Got the Shaft? For ticket reservations you can call 316-263-0222 or by visiting www.mosleystreet.com.

Photos Courtesy of Mosley Street Melodrama

BWW Review: WILL SANTA DRINK CANADA DRY? OR GO TELL IT TO THE MOUNTIE at Mosley Street Melodrama

BWW Review: WILL SANTA DRINK CANADA DRY? OR GO TELL IT TO THE MOUNTIE at Mosley Street Melodrama

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From This Author Craig Richardson

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