Cienna's Christmas Corner
Ham for the Holidays: One of the Year's Best Comedies
Every December, poor souls in newsrooms across the nation have to see more holiday theater than is healthful. This year, Cienna Madrid is taking the bullet. —Eds.
Imagine what would happen if you were as funny as you think you are, your singing voice were as good as your partner swears it is, and your talent for playing musical instruments surpassed eighth-grade band class. Now imagine collaborating with friends who could match your talents skill for skill, joke for joke, note for note.
In this alternate universe, you'd still be fortunate to hold a candle to Lisa Koch and Peggy Platt, aka Dos Fallopia—the clever, exuberant duo behind the musical comedy revue Ham for the Holidays: Ham-aggedon!
Ham-aggedon opens on a West Seattle water taxi. Koch and Platt play husband/wife lounge crooners who throw out zingers like lounge-circuit pros and manically break into songs about Seattle, including a number dedicated to our city's crappy transit system and the deep-bore tunnel: "Oooh, I'm just a boring machine/And I won't start till 2013/Oooh baby! I'm just a boring machine/Hope I don't tip the Federal Building." Before the shtick gets old, a new sketch begins. The mood is joyous and energetic, and the result is overwhelming in the best of ways: Physical gags, like "adventures in anti-aging with Nancy Reagan," are layered with wordplay, one-liners, and genuinely great musical numbers.
Ham for the Holidays isn't a new concept—Koch and Platt have built a stunning cast of characters over the years, from the Sequim Gay Men's Chorus to a "craft lady" who constructs Hanukkah menorahs from discarded toilet-paper tubes and inflated condoms.
Not all the gags are winners, but, more importantly, no skit outlives its welcome, keeping the show fresh, fast-paced, and fluid. Actors Bruce Hall and Michael Oaks play strong supporting roles, most notably in the Sequim chorus. Between skits, retro clips of truly weird shit play on a screen (think Mr. T singing a song called "Treat Your Mother Right").
The end result is a two-hour love note sent from two wildly talented women to Seattle and its 600,000 residents. You'd be a fool to miss it.