Monday, December 15, 2014

Merrymaking with the Bandito

I'll be completely honest here.
Marc and I are huge Bandito fans.
We've attended the Bandito shows in the Pickleville Playhouse in Bear Lake.
We've followed him to Salt Lake for his annual Christmas shows and so when we learned he was doing an original Christmas show in Logan, we asked TJ Davis for tickets.
We arranged to be in Logan on opening night so we could see "Juanito Bandito's Christmas Carol" for ourselves.
We weren't alone. The Ellen Eccles theatre was sold out with fans of every age and size waiting for the Bandito and wearing their mustaches!
The energy was electric.
The anticipation was high.
So when the Bandito and his sidekick guitar player came out and took seats on a pair of bar stools to play "I Don't Like Christmas!" we all celebrated. As he moved into "I Don't Like Christmas, I Love It Like a Fat Kid Likes Cake!" it took off.
The Bandito barely had to make a move.
Every Spanglish word he spoke, everytime he threatened to "Chute you!," it was funny.
We all hung on every word and enthused over the Banditos rewriting of Charles Dicken's classic story.
"This has three of the scariest things," he explained, "ghosts, nightmares and vocabulary words!"
The Bandito starts out trying to make sure everyone knows he's not pregnant and cannot be pregnant and is NOT a woman. (I have no buns in the ovens and

I can prove it!" he says. "What's Pinterest?")
Then Jordan Todd Brown comes into the picture as one of Santa's underpaid and overworked elves and he is insane.
He never stops improvising or cracking up both the cast and the audience.
Even the Bandito can't help laughing as Brown shudders, contorts his body into impossible shapes, mangles his lines and takes a turn at being the young Bandito.
Whitney Folkerson as Gratilda is also crazy. She's over the top in every scene and handles a rifle with ease. Her facial expressions and body language add immeasurably to everything she does: hiding under her invisibility clock, untangling the Christmas lights and climbing back into her coffin in Christmas Future.
It's a fun ride, even though the musical numbers and Christmas raps get a touch long and the chairs in the Eccles theater are spent.
"This is an exact copy of Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol," sputters the Bandito.
Not even close but who cares?
The Bandito's Christmas Carol plays at the Grand Theatre in Salt Lake on Dec. 18-20 starting at 7:30 each evening and on Monday the 22nd as well.

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