by Lynn on December 6, 2015

in The Passionate Playgoer

At Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander Street, Toronto, Ont.

Created by the Gifted Thom Allison

Singer/actor Thom Allison has created a timely Christmas/Chanukah gift to anyone who loves good singing, funny patter and smart showmanship in between. It’s his show called: Shut Up, It’s Christmas!

The first part of the show is devoted to Lola Kringle, Mrs. Claus to the rest of you. As Kris (Santa Claus to the masses) was otherwise engaged with toy making and making his travel plans for Christmas Eve etc. he couldn’t be there. Lola was there to tell us of her checkered past before she met Kris Kringle, the love of her life.

Lola makes her entrance wearing a long, red, hooded cloak, arm-length red gloves with appropriate jewellery to show how well Kris had done in business and glasses that rested half-way down her nose. She is folksy, a bit old-fashioned in her in her patter and glad we made it out to the show. Mind you she is capable of a well-placed double entendre, for example she said it ‘was good to get off of the Pole.” Well you can take that in so many ways.

She told us of her past interspersed with songs that added flavour to her story. She sang of how she was “Just a girl from Little Rock” and did an interesting rendition of the ‘V.D. Polka.” The voice is strong and true and so right for this Mrs. Kringle woman.

But before she met Kris she was Lola and she was a show-girl. With that Lola Kringle turned upstage, took off her hooded cloak and glasses, revealing the sensual, blonde Lola of her youth who wore a strapless gold, glittery slinky gown, projecting oodles of charm, sass, batting eye-lashes and allure.

Lola told us she had attracted several attentive men in her past. One was a rich, old gentleman. Then she saw Kris on a beach. He was a toy-maker and male model in a onesy. She was smitten. In a mash up of “The Boy From Ipanema” she sang of “The Boy from Düsseldorf.” She gasped when she saw him. She sang of “My Meadowlark.” Naturally she sang “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets,” as the relationship with Kris heated up. The song “Married,” from Cabaret is particularly affecting. Followed by “Her Name was Lola,” “Having a Heat Wave,” Viva Las Vegas”, and “New York, New York.”

Lola worked to support Kris’s wish to give every child a toy. Business boomed. Kris worked hard. Lola rarely saw him. Trouble. But with pluck, and humour, with the occasional sexy number it all worked out.

Thom Allison in drag makes one gorgeous woman. As Mrs. Kringle with her glasses on she is this ‘grandmotherly type who is ‘down-home’. As Lola, without the glasses, she is glamorous, sensual and nothing is ‘down home’ about her. He has a flair for the unexpected and chooses to cut off a song before it’s finished saying that we know how it ends. It’s a wonderful ploy but occasionally I thought Allison might have cheated himself (Lola?) out of her due applause. But Allison is such a showman, he got the due applause at the end.

The second act is Thom Allison as himself; glittery fitted jacket, orange shirt and black pants. Is there a more good-looking, charming man than Thom Allison? Probably not, when he’s on a stage. He has a natural generosity towards his audience; a flair for making them feel welcome and cherished. He loves the whole feel, energy, and spirit of Christmas. He watches all the traditional movies. And he sang those songs that meant a lot to him as well: “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “We Need a Little Christmas,” “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” plus a medley he calls “Dead Dames in Toyland,” in which he channels Ethel Merman, Billy Holiday and Judy Garland through various Christmas songs. Hilarious.

Thom Allison is a natural, gifted showman. He also has a strong, clear baritone voice with a sensitive ability to interpret songs, often in ways you don’t expect. Any opportunity to see him perform should not be missed.

Next Show: Dec. 11, at 8:00 pm

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