I only have one production to review this time…but it is a highly entertaining, laugh out loud winner!

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‘Don’t Hug Me, We’re Family’

I have seen and totally enjoyed every one of these six Don’t Hug Me musical comedies!

Set in a north woods bar in Bunyon Bay, Minnesota…the nutty characters are back! Each one of them written with MANIACAL MADNESS by Phil Olson (book and lyrics) and music by his brother Paul Olson…they have run all over the country!

Directed with FAST PACED FRIVOLITY by Doug Engalla, and PLAYFULLY choreographed by Michele Bernath, the laughs are non-stop and the storyline is BONKERS! The cleverly cluttered set design (by Chris Winfield) is a joy to behold, and an onstage jukebox cleverly provides the orchestration. It’s a musical laugh-fest, featuring a zany cast of seven actors, 14 original songs and 12 radio jingles. A TON OF FUN!

Set in a beer bar/radio station, Gunner (a SPIRITED Andrew Carter) is the host of a broadcast called “Cräppie Talk” devoted to ice fisherman…but no one ever calls in. His strong willed wife Clara (a FEISTY Truett Jean Butler) hosts “Book Beat” and enjoys a solid listening audience. While their relationship teeters, their friends are rooting for them to work things out.

Allison Hawkstone gives a PERKY and playful performance as Bernice, the radio jingle singer, and as her hubby Aarvid, Micky Shiloah added goofy COMEDIC CHARM. David Pluebell as Kanute, was a CRACK UP, never without a beer in hand. When Sal (a COCKY Michael Cortez), a wise guy from New York, buys the radio station from them, it turns their world spinning. Christina Gardner is a BUNDLE OF DYNAMITE as the sex- pot who just opened a girlie lounge in the neighborhood. The full cast sack race, enacted in slow motion, was a brilliant STROKE OF GENIUS! The whole wacky shebang is a ton of fun!

This is the sixth in Olson’s zany series and all have been even funnier than the last one! Need a good hearty laugh? This is the one to catch!

“Don’t Hug Me, We’re Family” runs through Sunday, March 25 at T.U. Studios located at 10943 Camarillo St. in North Hollywood (NE corner of Camarillo and Vineland). For tickets visit DontHugMe.com or call (818) 850-9254.   

Coming up

‘Unemployed Elephants’ at The Victory Theatre in Burbank opens Fri., March 9

A love story playing out in an airport lounge, starring Brea Bee and Marshall McCabe as two travelers who meet by chance and get more than they bargained for in the process.

For tickets call (818) 841-5422 or visit TheVictoryTheatreCenter.org.

Back soon with more theatah chat!

In addition to writing about theatre for The Tolucan Times, Pat Taylor owns Hubba Hubba! vintage clothing store in Burbank.


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Nite Lights Theatre reviews by Pat Taylor

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