Dec. 16 2015 02:47 PM

“The 1940s Radio Hour” is harried, perky, orgasmic

Photo by Shaun Hagen
Danielle Levas, Marlene Montes and Kelly Derouin in The 1940s Radio Hour

One takeaway from New Village Arts’ production of Walton Jones’ The 1940s Radio Hour; once you hear radio ensemble player Ginger Brooks’ (Marlene Montes) orgasmic commercial, you’ll never think of Eskimo Pies in the same way again.

Actually, the between-show commercials are the choice bits in NVA’s 90-minute representation of a New York City radio station’s holiday show, “recorded” in front of a studio audience, during the WWII era. A game cast sings and dances to a lot of period standards, and yes, there are the inevitable Christmas numbers, too. A prebroadcast segment that sort of introduces the characters seems pointless. The show-within-a-show itself, with the very funny Daren Scott as the harried emcee, would be enough on its own. Besides Scott and the aforementioned Montes, The 1940s Radio Hour benefits from the crooning and hoofing of Zackary Scot Wolfe and an impossibly perky Danielle Levas. The always entertaining Tony Houck, on piano, is a jaunty one-man band.

The 1940s Radio Hour runs through Dec. 31 at New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. $25-$47. newvillagearts.org


The music portion of Point Loma Playhouse’s Mistletoe, Music & Mayhem is the highlight of this debut production from a brand-new company led by estimable local Matt Thompson. Thompson and another estimable local, Phil Johnson, wrote this mostly delightful little holiday show, a rapid-fire combination of skits and songs. Those songs, with music and lyrics by Johnson and Rayme Sciaroni and onstage piano accompaniment by Tom Abruzzo, are clever, snarky and in one excusably sentimental case, even quite touching.

A five-person ensemble performs Mistletoe, Music & Mayhem, which flits back and forth between holiday spoof and holiday tribute. The irresistible Bethany Hamrick shines brightest among them, but BJ Lawrence makes a jolly Santa and Jarrod Weintraub stands out in one off-the-wall number as a crouton. That’s not a misprint. Don’t arrive late, because the opening Christmasaround-the-world number is a treat.

Point Loma Playhouse will be back in February with its production of Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation. Mistletoe, Music & Mayhem runs through Dec. 20 at the Point Loma Playhouse. $20-$22. pointlomaplayhouse.com


OPENING:

La Pastorela de Plata: Teatro Máscara Mágica’s take on the biblical story of the shepherds’ journey to Bethlehem. Presented in partnership with San Diego Black Ensemble Theatre, it plays through Dec. 20 at the Lyceum Theatre in the Gaslamp. teatromascaramagica.org

Mr. Scrooge & Mr. Dickens: The North County Players’ annual holiday production is a faithful adaptation of A Christmas Carol, but with the character of Charles Dickens also reading selections from the work. It opens for five performances Dec. 17 at the San Marcos Civic Center. northcountyplayers.org


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