Cleveland Public Theatre’s ‘The Loush Sisters” once again invades the holiday landscape


OK, I realize that Thanksgiving is a little late this year...but there is really no excuse for the stores parading out Christmas decorations and candy mere hours after Halloween. The same goes for the theater public being forced fed holiday programming before the turkey is gently dropped into boiling peanut oil and Grandma’s cranberry compote is dished up in the heirloom serving dish.

For whatever reason Christmas seems to be a rushed affair this year and Cleveland Public Theatre has jumped on the bandwagon with their every-other-year retread of “The Loush Sisters” with this year’s theme loosely based on the Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol.” Thus we have “The Loush Sisters Love Dick’ns: Oops!...they Did it Again” complete with Parma, condom and anal reference jokes...what fun.

For those of you who have managed to avoid this particular show over the decades it all began 15 years ago when Liz Conway, Michael Seevers, Jr. and Beth Wood conjured up and idea of two has been/never were lounge singers for a CPT benefit all those many years ago.

Jolly Loush (Liz Conway) and Holly Loush (Beth Wood) are back in Cleveland after their latest world wind tour that took them all the way to Mexico. They were there at the request of a drug lord who along with having them “perform” talks them into being drug mules. At the U.S. border they get separated from Butter Rum (Sheffia Randall Dooley). Being broke they are forced to rely on their talent (and a butt load of illegal drugs) to work their way across America to back home.

Seeing themselves now as “superstars” they decide that they no longer need the help of their family: Wolly (Wesley Allen), Dolly (Madelyn Hayes), Lolly (Mike Majer), Polly (Colleen McCaughey) and Folly (Nina Takács). They are then visited by The Ghost of Christmas Past (Caitlin Lewins) followed by The Ghost of Christmas Present (Mylin R. Cartwright) and The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come (Kevin Kelly) who work to show the gals the error of their ways.

To be honest, this is a show that works best with an inebriated audience. Not only is drinking encouraged during the show it is enabled through the use of waiters for the front table section. The strategy seemed to work as the more people drank the louder the laughter was.

Standouts of the performance was Kevin Kelly in drag as Mommy Loush and the Ghost of Christmas Present. Her cutting digs at her errant daughters are absolutely hilarious. Sheffia Randall Dooley as Butter Rum gets a chance to show off her amazing singing voice with a number of songs. Caitlin Lewis is the Ghost of Christmas Past with attitude who performs her entire roll rolling on roller skates. Mylin R. Cartwright plays Ghost of Christmas Present large and again amazes every one with this singing chops. Lastly the ensemble of siblings made up of Wesley Allen, Madelyn Hayes, Mike Majer, Colleen McCaughey and Nina Takács do a better than passable job in their roles.

This is adult theater due to content, adult theme and language, drinking and drug references and any other excuse you need to keep the kids at home.

If you re in need of a silly irreverent look at the dark force of the holidays this show (fortified with a goodly amount of hooch) should fill the bill. Most of the CPT regulars will get the joke while newcomers may shy away.

“The Loush Sisters Love Dick’ns” runs through December 21, 2019 in the Cleveland Public Theatre’s Gordon Square Theatre, 6415Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio. For tickets and information visit www.cptonline.org or call (216) 631-2727.

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Who is Mark Horning?

Over the course of my life I have worked a variety of jobs including newspapers, retail camera sales and photography. Eight years ago I embarked on yet another career as writer. This included articles concerning sports and cultural events in Cleveland, Ohio as well reviews of the many theatrical productions around town. These days are spent photographing professional dance groups, theater companies and various galas and festivals as well as attending various stage performances and posting reviews about them.