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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 13 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 50
Ham for the Holidays: Close Encounters of the Pork Rind - The riotous comic duo of Koch and Platt is back!
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Ham for the Holidays: Close Encounters of the Pork Rind - The riotous comic duo of Koch and Platt is back!

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

HAM FOR THE HOLIDAYS:
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE PORK RIND
ACT THEATRE
Through December 22


The riotous comic duo of Koch and Platt is back with another annual iteration of Ham for the Holidays. This year's banquet is entitled Close Encounters of the Pork Rind and brings back some favorite sketch characters you're sure to recognize and enjoy. That is, if you have previously partaken in the joy that is Ham for the Holidays.

There are never any repeats of sketches, though. Every year, the entire show is completely new. But the formula is sure-fire. Directed by Lisa's talented director-brother, David Koch, the duo of Lisa Koch and Peggy Platt, also known as Dos Fallopia, are joined by regular friend-performers D.J. Gommels and Michael Oaks. Gommels plays a mean piano on many sketches and all four people morph into many sketch characters in the evening.

This year they are performing for the first time at ACT Theatre, which changes the feel of the show somewhat from the more intimate although less posh environs of Theatre Off Jackson (where they've presented their show in previous years). It's exciting for Koch and Platt to expand their audience to many ACT subscribers, who may never have heard of them, but the show does have a bit more presentational feel to it.

Act 1 starts off with a Schmeck Attack, where brother Hasidic Jews perform some Borscht-belt bull as a back up for another act that failed to appear. The Downtown Employees Credit Union of Puget Sound (DECUPS) starts out being grateful for their last minute substitution. Just don't expect them to know how to sing most of the normal Christian-style winter songs that people expect at this time.

Then, there's a new game show, Crassword, where dirty words are never censored, and audience members might win prizes for knowing their filth. The Slam Poet shows up to rail against the season, including some Christmas haiku.

The Sequim Gay Men's Chorus brings more angst to the stage, where one couple is now married, but already having difficulties. And Kenneth Dolman has some mental health challenges, including unexpected reactions to clapping hands.

Act 2 introduces a new local tribute band, the Seatles, that play Beatles-style music and some local music icons' tunes with their own lyrics. The Seatles is made up of Paul Allen, Bill Gates, Dale Chihuly and Jean Enersen!

And the annual scripted presentation by Mama Euomi Spudd, with assistance from her daughter Wynotta, is Meet Me in Mayberry with a Vengeance! Mama Euomi becomes Judy Garland from St. Louis, coming to Mayberry to replace Andy Griffith as Sheriff when he is out of town, and needing to find a murderer with ... um ... a vengeance.

Each of these four performers (Koch, Platt, Gommels and Oaks) morphs into amazingly accurate characters, complete with hysterical costuming by Candace Frank, Ken Powers and Kim Dancy, wig support from Akemi Hart, lighting from Robert J. Aguilar, and sets by Robin Macartney. Oaks is a perfect Jean Enersen and Barney Fife, Gommels does a spot-on Bill Gates, Koch has a glorious voice along with great comic chops, and Platt is luminous as the Slam Poet and scene-stealing as Mama Spudd/Judy Garland.

If this isn't your holiday tradition yet, you owe it to yourself to seriously think about making it one. For more information, go to www.acttheatre.org or 206-292-7676.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com or go to www.facebook.com/SeattleTheaterWriters.

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