Review of Bricolage Production Company’s “Midnight Radio: Animated Holidaze”!

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*Note- “Live Tweet” highlights, Twitter handles, website/blog links will be listed after the review*

*DISCLAIMER: both of the photos in this blog post are my own. I do not claim ownership of Bricolage Production Company. I do not seek to profit monetarily from “Midnight Radio: Animated Holidaze”. I’m just spreading the word about good theater in Pittsburgh!

Last night, I attended the opening performance night of “Midnight Radio: Animated Holidaze” at the Bricolage theater in Downtown Pittsburgh. Bricolage is located on 937 Liberty Avenue, in a former bath house (cool, huh?). Jeffrey Carpenter and Tami Dixon stumbled across this beautiful space; along with the assistance of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (and several other donors), they FINALLY have discovered a home for their traveling theater troupe.

The word Bricolage literally means: “to use what is at hand“, and that is exactly what co-owners (and husband and wife team) Tami & Jeffrey do. Along with minimal sets, special effects, costumes and makeup, this uniquelyPittsburgh theater company” relies on their stories, actors and crew for the success of their shows. Also, Bricolage is heavy into audience participation (which, in my opinion, is one of the reasons patrons return show-after-show). The mission of the Bricolage Production Company is: to provide an “immersive” and authentic theater experience, that will change the audience members’ definition of theater.

The first show I ever attended was STRATA in summer 2012 (I will provide a link below, with a review of that show). I have never experience a show as original and interactive as STRATA. In my opinion, Bricolage’s best production TO DATE.

Midnight Radio is a close second!Animated Holidaze” was the third production of Midnight Radio that I’ve ever attended. Last year, I was present for “Midnight Radio: Ghost Stories” and “Midnight Radio: Cult Movie Classics“. “Animated Holidaze” was similar to “Cult Movie Classics“, in the respect that both shows utilized a “Mystery Science Theater 3000approach. In other words: there was a big screen, where movie and television clips were played, and the actors dubbed over the clips with Bricolage’s scripted dialogue (and perhaps a little bit of improvisation).

First: the lobby! You really have to see it for yourself! They decorate for every show (Midnight Radio or not), and the elegant tile floors are always a topic of conversation. For Animated Holidaze, presents were gathered by a table and ladder. In between the presents, were robots made from “War of the Worlds” (the previous Midnight Radio show). One aspect of the Bricolage that I LOVE: they always have interactive games in the lobby! This time, theater-goers could cut their own “paper snowflake” with white construction paper. In addition, Bricolage fans were asked “are you naughty, or nice?” and were given a corresponding sticker with their program. For the first time EVER, I ordered something from the “Happy Half Hour” bar: homemade eggnog (with a little bit of special ingredients added)! :-) Some of the tastiest eggnog I ever had! I really appreciated that all of the beverages were “donation based“. That’s great for college students, young professionals, and those living on a budget.

Also, you could enter your name into a box for a chance to play on “Family Feud” (which, of course, I did)! Odie the Theater Dog (the “official mascot” of Bricolage, and Jeffrey & Tami’s dog) greeted me, and eventually, he mingled with the rest of the crowd. He LOVED the attention! After I conversed with Tami, Jeffrey, and Hannah (General Manager of Bricolage), I met fellow blogger & “Live TweeterMichael Pellas and his fiance. Both were very nice! It sounds like they just moved to Downtown Pittsburgh; both have explored the city and are getting to know their new town.

Soon, it was time to take our seats (Tweet Seats! Long live “Tweet Row”!), and anticipate the start of the show. Before the show began, I captured a photo (captioned: “View from Tweet Row”):

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The retro G.E. commercials were BRILLIANT! Bricolage poked fun at how men assumed all their wives wanted for the holidays were more cooking supplies and gadgets! For the first part of the show, we watched a few clips from some “Animated Holidaze” classics! Even “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was not safe from the clutches of Bricolage! The voice of Yukon Cornelius was dubbed over with a Bob Dylan impression (“You go…your way; I go…my way!”); you really had to be there to appreciate the humor! I couldn’t stop laughing! Such a genius move!

The second animated classic was “Year Without a Santa Claus” with the Heat Meiser being played by “Christopher Walken” (a.k.a. Bricolage actor Jason). “I’m…MIS-Tah Heat…Meiser; I’M…Mr….FUN!” That was a Christmas present in itself! Eventually, there was “a word from our sponsors”. They did fake advertisements for “layaway” and “eggnog“- so fun!

The third animation was a clip from “Rocky & Bullwinkle“, another retro T.V. classic! My favorite part of that clip was Boris saying to his “elves“: “If you cross Santy, you’ll get a one-way sleigh ride!

The fourth and fifth animations were short clips from “Beavis and Butthead” and “Rugrats“. Honestly, I was never much of a “Beavis & Butthead” fan, but I LOVED Rugrats! I still remember the night Rugrats premiered like it was yesterday. At the time, my family and I were living in Bethel Park (a suburb of Pittsburgh). We moved to Upper St. Clair in 1993. Thus, Rugrats must’ve began either during 1993 or before.

The guest band (Cello Fury!!) played two songs for the audience! Wow; they were incredible! I have to say, they were THE BEST musical guest I’ve heard at the Bricolage TO DATE! Rock on, cellos!

Of course, no “Midnight Radio” broadcast would be complete without MAD LIBS and FAMILY FEUDS. Family Feud was sooooo much fun! The young gentleman that hosts family feud USUALLY hosts it for each Midnight Radio episode. He’s too much fun! Anyway, a twist of fate occurred, and I was competing on the stage! Thanks to the some audience help, I was able to steal the win from my friendly competitor, Matt! Thank you, Joe Wos & The Toonseum, for a wonderful prize pack! :D

After Family Feud, it was time for “Fake Breaking News“, where two of the fake newscasters indulged the theater with their take on the holidays. Also, they had a few special guests (including a creepy version of “Elf on the Shelf“. Word to the wise: if you don’t know what “Elf on the Shelf” is, good. You don’t want to know).

Lastly, Bricolage presented a full rendition of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (classic, hand-drawn cartoon version). The actor that played “The Grinch” was wonderful! I read his bio in the program, and he has performed on Broadway! Very impressive; I just watched a Broadway actor in PITTSBURGH production, for a more reasonable price. Thank you, Bricolage! :D

That concludes my review. Now, it’s time for my highlights from “Tweet Row“:
#Pittsburgh: r u ready 4 some live tweets? Two hours ’til #MRHolidaze @BricolagePGH! :D Support local theater!!
(a tweet I sent out for Her Campus Chatham): One hour until @BricolagePGH‘s #MRHolidaze! We couldn’t be more excited! Support your local #Pittsburgh theaters! :D @onlyinpgh
(a tweet from @thejunctionman): @lauraelizabethj having a blast meeting fellow blogger @lauraelizabethj at @bricolagepgh #MRHolidaze
Thanks! I am enjoying speaking with your Fiancé & you! :D
(another tweet I did for Her Campus Chatham): I’ll never look at the animated classics the same way! #mrholidaze via @bricolagepgh
“I should know: I’m David Bowie (*wink*)”. #mrholidaze via @bricolagepgh
Wow; what an honor to share the stage with the #mrholidaze cast during “Family Feud” @bricolagepgh! :D
Live Tweeter, Family Feud contestant & prize winner (@toonseum), all in one night! Thanks @bricolagepgh! :D #mrholidaze
(Tweet from @bricolagepgh): @lauraelizabethj congrats on your big win. #tweetrow rocked tonight!!
(Tweet from @HCChathamU): Thanks to @HCChathamU alum, @lauraelizabethj, for tweeting for us tonight during #MRHolidaze. We love you, Laura!
Soul: singing. Heart: happy. Phone battery: dead (lol). Thus, a successful night in “Tweet Row” for #MRHolidaze!! @BricolagePGH @onlyinpgh
Thanks Joe Wos & @toonseum, for the lovely prizes that you provided for @BricolagePGH last night! :D
I love @BricolagePGH! No other theater in #Pittsburgh provides bloggers with such a wonderful opportunity as the “live tweet”! Many thanks!!

Now’s your chance to enter my two FREE ticket giveaway! Here’s the link with the criteria for my giveaway: http://healthkicklady.net/2013/12/05/criteria-for-midnight-radio-animated-holidaze-two-free-tickets-giveaway/.

Thank you, everyone, for supporting me, reading my tweets, and visiting my blog! Want to read the rest of the tweets fromTweet Row“? Search for the hash-tag #MRHolidaze on Twitter! Wish to learn more about Bricolage and Midnight Radio: Animated Holidaze? Go here: http://www.bricolagepgh.org/events/midnight-radio-season-5-episode-3-animated-holidaze.

Bricolage’s social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bricolage/88047839872
Twitter: @bricolagepgh

I encourage you visit the blogs/websites of the other “Live Tweeters” & bloggers:

Michael Pellas (Downtown Living): http://michaelpellas.wordpress.com/
Follow Michael on Twitter: @thejunctionman
Nakturnal/Nak You Outhttp://www.nakyouout.com/
Twitter handle: @Nak_You_Out
Her Campus Chatham: http://www.hercampus.com/school/chatham
Twitter handle: @HCChathamU

Link to my “STRATA” review: http://www.hercampus.com/school/chatham/my-strata-experience

Reference:

Plumb Media. (2011). Home | Bricolage Production Company. Retrieved from: http://www.bricolagepgh.org/events/midnight-radio-season-5-episode-3-animated-holidaze

Thanks everyone!

Happy eat, dining & theater-going,

Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

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