Friday, December 17, 2010

Rock ‘n’ Roll By Beverly Creasey

SpeakEasy Stage Company has a novel idea for New Year’s Eve – or any (less stressful) eve of your choosing (through Jan. 2nd): A chamber rock performance called STRIKING 12. The quirky pop theater/concert features keyboard, percussion and an electric violin (which reminded me first of the strings in Celtic Woman and later of the nasal sound of Chinese stringed instruments). The trio portrays three people in search of meaning on New Year’s Eve. The drummer (a dapper Zachary Hardy) wants nothing more than a party with friends. The keyboardist (the multi-talented José Delgado who also music directs) wants to be left alone and the violinist (the gorgeous Erikka Walsh) wants to spread a little light in the world.

The Rachel Sheinkin script (for the indie rock trio GrooveLily who originated the project) gives the title its resonance, adding in the Hans Christian Anderson fable of The Little Match Girl, so that STRIKING 12 means matches as well as the New Year countdown. The intimate cabaret set-up at SpeakEasy (upstairs at the BCA) allows the music to take center stage. The songs are hip with cheeky lyrics (cleverly rhyming ‘lazy boy’ with ‘hoi polloi’ in Resolution) which send up just about every pop genre. Delgado gets an amusing rap number and Hardy provides laughs as “postnasal drip guy.” Walsh contributes the heart so that STRIKING 12 has a warm, fuzzy ending for the holidays. Director Scott Sinclair keeps the pacing sharp and the sound balance just right for the small space: You don’t even need earplugs!

STRIKING 12 begins and ends with a catchy Snow Song (and projections of the white stuff). I don’t know how SpeakEasy did it, but the evening ended with a light snow shower as we left the theater: not enough to stick but enough to remind us of the song!