Review!

Well, maybe that should be a half exclamation point. There is a review for Holiday Punch in the Journal Sentinel. It’s about half good. The things that are good are very good. I was prepping for a terrible review, so this seems great! All I can say is that it is good enough to sell some tickets. I’m hoping for the rest of the run to be sold out!

Here it is:

Less ‘Punch’ would’ve tasted better

The first half works; the second doesn’t

By MIKE FISCHER
Special to the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Dec. 16, 2007

Wily stage veteran Dale Gutzman knows a thing or two about timing. Just as holiday-induced stress reaches fever pitch – and as some of Milwaukee’s fuzzier Christmas shows finish their runs – Gutzman is kicking into high gear with his latest contrarian brew of “Holiday Punch.” A cast of Off the Wall Theatre regulars served up the first batch Friday night.

Holiday Punch” has been around for almost 30 years, and while the recipe changes, the ingredients invariably include a song and dance mix combining a deep love for Broadway musicals with some very naughty comedy, deliberate groaners, satiric commentary and even a few heartfelt moments.

This year’s drink hits the spot when it first goes down, but a weak second act, culminating in an interminable and humorless parody of “Deal or No Deal” titled “Delhi or New Delhi,” has a nasty aftertaste that contributes to a first-class hangover.

Before getting there, the Off the Wall cast mixes its audience a reasonably funny and entertaining first act featuring stand-up comedy from Gutzman and a Paris Hilton spoof that pays homage to “Chicago.”

But nothing could outdo the evening’s highlight, a jewel of a parody late in the first act that trains the spotlight on Idaho Sen. Larry Craig’s infamous visit last summer to a Minneapolis men’s room.

Starring Jeremy Welter as the plainclothes detective and Lawrence Lukasavage as the troubled senator, “Fiddler on the Roof” becomes “Fiddler in the Can.” Hilarious remakes of cherished songs such as “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Tradition” ensure that the “Fiddler” we know will never be quite the same.

With the exception of the outrageous costumes worn in “Winter Wonderland Extravaganza” and a clever send-up of Abbott and Costello featuring Gutzman as a befuddled first-time computer buyer, “Punch” goes rapidly downhill after intermission.

Gutzman closes the evening with a welcome chaser, an earnest rendition of “Lost in the Stars” that offers a heartfelt antidote to hollow holiday cheer while preserving the message of hope that continues to give Christmas its magic.

“Holiday Punch” continues through Dec. 31 at 127 E. Wells St. Call (414) 327-3552 for tickets.

You can also check out the original link here.

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