Set in an artificially smoky room jammed and crammed with close-set tables, a scant platform at one end that serves as a stage connected to a narrow, twenty-foot runway, The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Home Alone, with a high-powered cast of consummate actor-singer-comedians, serves up a blistering couple of hours of raucous, intimate entertainment. The beloved 1990 film gets recreated with all the details intact and sketched in to maximize the amusement.
When the McCallister family, having over-slept, hurry off to the airport in pandemonium, board a plane and take off to Paris, they, in their self-centered myopia, don’t realize that they have left their young son behind. As Kevin, the role created by Macaulay Culkin, the delightfully impish Caitlin Gallogly is utterly adorable and commands the stage with impressive vocal prowess. In this parody, the extraordinarily talented Marla Mindelle as Kevin’s mother comes across as a privileged climber clinging to her position of wealth and whiteness. She sings with power and grace and even mocks the contemporary, big-voiced vocal style. Her husband Peter (excellent Alex Mohajer,) is a feckless sort. Peter Allen Vogt, a big man who moves like a cat, is fine as the brutish brother Buzz, hilarious as Gus, the polka guy, and a grudgingly sympathetic Santa. The comic duo of Damon Gravina and Spencer Strong Smith are a vaudeville routine as the nasty, hapless burglars, singing, dancing and clowning up a storm. A trio of first-rate protean performers (Misha Reeves, Spencer Strong and Zach Zagoria), all of whom have fine voices and graceful moves, take on a variety of broadly drawn roles. This cast has such a good time that it is infectious.
The show has an almost non-stop musical score of pop songs and contemporary Christmas favorites tweaked to serve the story, backed by an excellent quartet—Blake Estrada on bass, Emily Rosenfield on guitar, Gregory Nabours on piano and Greg Sadler on drums.
The venue is tight, so many in the audience are close enough to touch the performers without reaching and the cast loves to play with crowd. One of the actors reached down and took a class red wine belonging to a tablemate and downed it in a gulp. The staging uses the entire room with bits and scenes on tiny, spotlighted platforms away from the central axis.
My only quibble is the sound level, which was sometimes deafening, at least to me, but I was as close as one could get to the action. When I left the building it felt like I had cotton in my ears. It didn’t seem to affect the rest of audience, who may be less sensitive and more tolerant of the decibel level.
This show, created by Kate Pazakis and directed by John Flynn, is unlike any that I have ever seen, so maybe I have been cloistered in a bubble, because this company has been around for a while. But then I have been plying my trade in Northern California until this past year and I don’t believe this has been seen in the Bay Area. The company has also spoofed Troop Beverly Hills, The Big Lebowski, The Devil Wears Prada, Scream, Cruel Intentions, Clueless and The Rocky Horror Show.
If you want to have an insanely good time in a venue that has table service, check out The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Home Alone, which runs through December 31 at Rockwell Table & Stage, 1714 N Vermont Ave in Los Angeles.