Highlights of the show, such as they were, include:
- A very enthusiastic and talented cast make the most of the material they're given. Number one among them is Bonni Allen as Gunner's long-suffering wife Clara. Bonni played Kate Monster in Mixed Blood's delightful production of Avenue Q last year, and I was quite amused when she once again put on a puppet, this time in the form of Barbra Streisand (it's a long story). Ross Young also appeared in Deer Camp, and once again he puts everything he's got into grumpy but loveable Gunner.
- Like Deer Camp, Don't Hug Me's original songs are sung live by the cast to canned music, but at least there's an excuse for it this time - the music comes out of the bar's karaoke machine. Most of the songs are cute and amusing (except for one disappointingly homophobic song). And I can never resist a singalong, even if it's to a stupid song about Grandma cutting the cheese.
- The dancing that accompanies the songs is also quite amusing (choreographed by Doug Anderson, who also plays the dimwitted bar patron Kanute, perhaps a nickname for Knutson?).
- The spirit Sven Jorgenson (Michael Lee) gives an amusingly bad Robert Goulet impression.
- The set is a very realistic looking small town Minnesota bar, judging by the responses I got when I posted a picture of it on Facebook with the caption "guess where I am?"
- A Christmas Carol wouldn't be A Christmas Carol without Tiny Tim, and he appears here in a very wacky version - actress Emily Moore (who also plays waitress and aspiring singer Bernice) on her knees with a Cockney accent.
- Again like Deer Camp, this show does not take itself at all seriously, and doesn't try to be more than it is - a silly, entertaining, mindless romp through bad jokes and cheesy story. You gotta respect that.
I've heard about these Don't Hug Me musicals (there are several in the series) and often wondered about them. Now I know they're not really my kind of musical. But they serve a purpose I suppose, and less adventurous theater-goers might enjoy them. A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol is playing now through January 6. (But in the genre of Minnesota-themed holiday shows, I highly recommend Yellow Tree Theatre's Miracle on Christmas Lake II.)
|the lifelike bar set of A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol|