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Review: 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReinDOORS' a dazzling but odd mashup

December 11, 2012|By F. Kathleen Foley
  • Kyle Nudo, left, Steven Booth and Mike Sulprizio in "Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReinDOORS" at the Falcon.
Kyle Nudo, left, Steven Booth and Mike Sulprizio in "Rudolph the Red-Nosed… (Chelsea Sutton )

There’s no disputing the fact that the Troubadour Theater Company, under the direction of the group’s longtime artistic director, Matt Walker, is one hot ticket -- that is, if you can manage to finagle a seat to one of its sold-out performances.  Even when a show is not quite up to the mark of previous productions, as is the case with “Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReinDOORS,” at the Falcon, the Troubies are still the tree-topping stars of local holiday entertainment.

The problem with the present production lies in its blend of source material -- the Rankin/Bass animated classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and the music of the Doors -- heady, hallucinogenic stuff that doesn’t naturally lend to the rock 'em, sock 'em production numbers that are the Troubies’ stock-in-trade. 

“Rudolph” is one of the group’s most slickly produced shows to date -- perhaps to a fault, since the show lacks the heights of improvisational flair we’re used to seeing from this company. But the design elements, particularly Sharon McGunigle’s cartoonish costumes, are dazzling. Stilt-walkers, jugglers and a terrific onstage band helmed by musical director Eric Heinly add to the fun.

Seasoned Troubies Rick Batalla, Lisa Valenzuela, Walker and Beth Kennedy are typically hooty in their respective turns as Santa and Mrs. Claus and Rudolph’s dysfunctional reindeer parents, Donder and Blitzen. Others in the antic cast include Mike Sulprizio, Kyle Nudo, Paul C. Vogt and Molly Alvarez, who also contributes the lively choreography.

Steven Booth almost prances away with the show as Rudolph, who flies through the air with the greatest of unease, stopping every few swoops to adjust his harness, which seems likely to interfere with his future progeny.

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReinDOORS,” Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank.  8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturdays, 4 p.m. Sundays.  Also 4 p.m. Dec. 22 and 7 p.m. Dec. 9, 16, 30 and Jan. 6.  Ends Jan. 13. $34.50-$42. (818) 955-8101. www.FalconTheatre.com. Running time:  1 hour, 40 minutes.

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