By Mary Boyle
In Tandem Theatre Company has developed a reputation for irreverent alternative holiday shows, and this year is no exception. Do the holiday classics make you ill? Are you looking for a grown up night out that doesn't include any solemn holiday spirit? If National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is more your speed than It's A Wonderful Life, then Merry Chris-Mess is the holiday show for you!
Written by Anthony Wood, of Cudahy Caroler Christmas fame, with additional material by Lee Becker and Sean McKenna, Merry Chris-Mess is one act of silly songs and skits and one act of an It's A Wonderful Life parody called "It's a Life," interspersed with carols rewritten with south side flare by the Cudahy Carolers, including a little gem called, "O Come Let's Do A Fish Fry." Nothing pertaining to Christmas is sacred: there's a dirty Santa, greedy elves, and toy commercials that go horribly wrong, but "It's A Life" is where the show really derails Christmas into the gutter. Zach Thomas Woods is a brilliant Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, if Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey was a very crass and angry man. Chris Flieller as Mr. Potter is just as crotchety as the Mr. Potter in the classic film, but with a massive flatulence problem. You get the idea.
Directed by Jane Flieller, with music direction by Josh Robinson, Merry Chris-Mess features a very talented cast of 8, including the aforementioned Chris Flieller and Zach Thomas Woods, as well as Sean Duncan, Anna Otto, Liz Shipe, Gage Patterson, Emmitt Morgans, and Jocelyn Ridgely. The Tenth Street Theatre is a really casual, relaxed venue, and audience members can take their drinks in the theatre to enjoy during the show, which adds to the fun, but this is definitely an adult show and not ideal for anyone who is easily offended by bad language or raunchy comedy That being said, as long as you know what you're getting yourself into, you'll likely have a good time and plenty of laughs.
Merry Chris-Mess runs through January 6th at the Tenth Street Theatre, located at 628 N. 10th St. in Milwaukee. Tickets are available by calling the Tenth Street Theatre Box Office at (414) 271-1371 or online at http://www.intandemtheatre.org. Join In Tandem for a special New Year's Eve show, including a champagne toast, reception, and "fireworks."
About In Tandem Theatre
In Tandem Theatre, a 501(c)3 nonprofit theatre located in Milwaukee, was founded in 1998 by Chris and Jane Flieller with the commitment to produce exciting, innovative and professional live theatre by presenting creative and eclectic programming that enlightens, inspires, provokes, and entertains a diverse audience in an intimate atmosphere. Its name, In Tandem Theatre, reflects the connection between audience and actor, the audience and the written word – an intimate experience obtained when live audiences are engaged in strong storytelling. In Tandem Theatre is committed to creating innovative, exciting live theatre designed to inspire, enlighten, provoke and entertain a diverse audience through comedy, drama, musicals, classics and new works.