Review: ‘The Greatest Holiday Special (N)ever’ at Silver Spring Stage

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The Greatest Holiday Special (N)ever, by Silver Spring Stage in collaboration with The Coil Project (a local company that writes and produces original work), is the perfect Christmas show for those who like their holiday spirit with just a touch of irony.

The cast of ‘The Greatest Holiday Special (N)ever.’ Photo by Harvey Levine.

A troupe of actors gather on a cold and snowy night to do the final tech rehearsal for one of the most clichéd feel-good Christmas show ever (oddly enough at the very same Silver Spring Stage).

Unfortunately, the snow turns heavy and the troupe gets snowed in; so, thank the heavens, they don’t rehearse their show but enact a cluster of “real” to life incidents that reveal the true meaning (sap and all) of this most overdone of feel good seasons.

Sure, the show could have been funnier, and some of the sketches could have been shorter, and perhaps one or two sketches fewer; but the show’s not bad for a holiday show, but for the sap–Ba Humbug!

Written by Erica Smith (Principal Playwright) and a host of others (Andy De, Erik Harrison, Stacey Kruml, Jenny Oberholtzer, Michael Reilly, and Michael Silver) is a behind the curtains play, perfect for theater acolytes. Indeed, this goofy-actor-prank backstage drama will sing most sweetly for the true insiders.

With a cast of twelve, The Greatest Holiday Special (N)ever depends on ensemble work and director Andy De definitely gets that from his cast. Their easy interplay is by far the most enjoyable aspect of the show, as actors move in and out of focus, but never once lose the sense of being stuck in a Shopping Center basement (yes, that’s exactly what Silver Spring Stage is) with a play they can’t appreciate.

The space provides a fine, cloistered sense of strandedness in the storm, giving the play its inciting incident.

The cast does a great job capturing that sense of being cut off from the outside world. And isn’t that the nature of theatre after all?

The company consists of Lorraine Bouchard, Kathleen Burnard, John D’Amato, Rebecca Fischler, Erik Harrison, Jimmy Heyworth, Sara Joy Lebowitz, Diego Maramba, Andrew Quilpa, Bridgette Saverine, Michael Silver, and Amanda Zeitler.

To kill the time, each in multiples of 3 or 4 enact more than a dozen short scenes about love and romance, addiction (to Christmas no less), the Three Wise Men (where did they come from?), and so much more.

The production team of Patrick Miller (sets), Rebecca Talisman (props), Peter Caress (lights), Rich Frangiamore (sound), and Andy De and the Cast (costumes) kept the sceneography simple and to the point, in classic SSS fashion.

A portion of the revenue from The Greatest Holiday Special (N)ever goes to SOME (So Others Might Eat).

If that’s not in the spirit of the holidays, nothing is.

The Greatest Holiday Special (N)ever plays through December 18, 2016, at Silver Spring Stage  – 10145 Colesville Road, in Silver Spring, MD. For tickets, buy them at the box office one hour before the show, or purchase them online.

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