Saturday, November 28, 2015

Loush Sisters return to Cleveland Public Theatre with songs, booze and double entendres

It’s that time of year when local theatre offerings center on “peace on earth” and how each of us should be kind and better (e.g., Great Lakes Theater’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL), family holiday memories (Cleveland Play House’s A CHRISTMAS STORY), and musical escapes (Beck Center’s MARY POPPINS and PlayhouseSquare’s ELF). 

Then there is Cleveland Public Theatre’s tale of booze, sexual double entendres and holiday songs, packaged in a very slight story.  Yes, the Loush Sisters are back.  This time they’re getting guffaws in THE LOUSH SISTERS LOVE DICK’NS:  GREAT EXPECTATIONS.

The CPT rules are simple:  no kids, no up-tight elders, drink lots of wine and beer before and during the show, bring a group of friends along to share in the goings on, and leave your thoughts at home of what the traditional holiday play is about (see above paragraph).

As creator, director and “co-star” of LOUSH . . . DICK’NS, Beth Wood, tells us in her program notes, that the holiday show has been around, in one form or another, since 2003.  The Loush sisters are “not politically correct, they can be [are] offensive, they might [do] have substance abuse problems, “And yes, they believe that they’re the best thing since the end of prohibition [it never stopped for these ever-tipsy broads].

Now, again referring to Wood’s comments, the duo “don’t have a mean bone in their body” [except toward their brother and sisters], they kind of lose it when their sister, Butter Rum, “disappeared at the Republican Presidential debate last summer in Cleveland.”  Operating on their mama’s long standing advice, “always put yourself first,” the duo so become victims of their own boozing and attempts to control the rest of the family, that an intervention needs to take place.

This is an intervention filled with songs and ideas stolen from other holiday plays.  There are the tales told by the Ghost of Christmas Past and Christmas Present Yet to Come [it worked for Ebenezer Scrooge, so why not for Holly and Jolly?].  And, there is the great revelation:  the awareness that they were bad-bad-bad, and lumps of coal were going to be their only presents. 

The songs?  The score has been usurped from the likes of Irving Berlin, Burl Ives, and Leroy Anderson, and from real musicals like MAME, MEET ME IN SAINT LOUIS and PETER PAN.  Included are “Seasons in the Sun,” “That’s Why My Sister is a Tramp,” [whoops, “The Lady is a Tramp"], “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “We Need a Little Christmas,” “Side by Side,” “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Eye of the Tiger,” and “What a Feeling.”

Hmm, wonder if the girls paid royalties to ASCAP for the rights to those tunes?

So, what’s the story about?  Story?  Come on now…this a pretext to tell slightly dirty jokes, give Dan Kilbane (Lolly) a chance to walk with a crutch and whine, “God bless us, every one!,” give Liz Conway (Jolly) and Beth Wood (Holly) a chance to draw attention to their abundant cleavage, let Sheffia Randall Dooley (Butter Rum) wail!, allow Jennifer Woda (Ghost of Christmas Past) a way to display her pretty singing voice, permit Caitlin Lewins to do some fun choreo, allow Edward Ridley, Jr. an opportunity to tickle the ivories, afford Brian Pedaci (Christmas Present) to wear an ugly gold lamé jacket, and give the audience a chance to scream, stomp their feet and clap in unison (and drink). 

The rest of the cast also has a chance to have some fun….Dionne D. Atchison, Rebecca Riffle-Polito, Hillary Wheelock, Teresa DeBerry and Megan Elk.

Capsule judgement: THE LOUSH SISTERS LOVE DICK’NS: GREAT EXPECTATIONS is a fun evening of escape from shopping, decorating and the pressures of life.  Sit back and let Jolly and Holly tease and taunt you and enjoy yourself as you realize that there is family “more dysfunctional than your own!”

LOUSH SISTERS LOVE DICK’NS:  GREAT EXPECTATIONS, runs through December 19, 2015 at Cleveland Public Theatre.  For tickets call 216-631-2727 or go on line to