The Born-in-a-Barn Players at the Lofte are finishing the 2016 season with a hilarious production that's aimed at kids, but tickles adults funny bones as well. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Ken Ludwig is a joy to watch. When there is a small cast, everyone must be on their game. Five actors played nine characters - with costume changes, speech and voice alteration to fit the characterization - without any glitches. Director Kevin Colbert picked five winners - here they are.
Greg Legier (Uncle Brierly/Sir Guy of Gisbourne) went a little over the top at times, but hey, this IS a comedy. The uncle was straight-laced and pompous; while Sir Guy was a proper villain. This is his second role this season.
Austin Brady, a newborn in a barn player (Amos/Amos of Kansas) went from nervous, fearful city rodent to country rodent without a miss - he really did sound like he was from Kansas. I predict he'll be back in future productions.
Shakiera Bullis (Emily) was fun to watch, nailing her dialogue and showing outstanding physical comedy - she's a 10-year old in an adult's body.
Keri Hogue (Britannia Sneed/Calliope) who teaches at Elmwood-Murdock Elementary makes me want to go back to school if she brings her enthusiasm and physical comedic talent to the classroom. She owned the stage and really does project a larger than life persona.
Doug Rothgeb (Wendell Sneed/Mulch) goes from society husband to simple minion for Sir Guy with an innocence that makes him an unwitting accomplice - he's not mean, just a little bit slow. He also shines as Santa Claus.
Now to the crew: The three choreographers gave us a great sword (actually epee) fight (Will Cover); some intricate body and extremity movement (Noelle Bohaty); and some cool moves to 'Deck the Halls' (Alia Sedlacek). Luke Ervin did a great job on the Hip Hop music. Once again, the Lofte sets look like you could move in tomorrow. Betty Colbert again showed her piano chops - never overpowering the words.
OKAY - Get the kids and head to the Lofte at 7:30 on the 16th and 17th; and the final show is on the 18th at 2:00. All times are PM Central Standard Time.
I know you're only supposed to give 5 stars, but sometimes you just gotta go with your inner child.