CCC’s Holiday Offering – Greetings! – Is Comical, Quirky and Possibly Familiar

Reviewed by Bethany Leslie

In this holiday season, it is common to hear the words “Season Greetings” or the more general “Hello and Greeting”. However, to hear the word “Greetings” come out of the mouth of one that usually only says “Oh boy” or “Wow,” is quite a change for the dysfunctional Gorski family as they gather for Christmas. 

This is the starting premise for Clio Cast and Crew’s latest production, Greetings! by Tom Dudzick. The show runs at CCC’s Theatre 57 on December 4, 5, 10, 11, and 12th, 2021. It is directed by Katie Davis and Kaiser Henning and is produced by Morgan Stevens. 

Mother Emily (Susanne Helfrich) and father Phil (John Dunning) are awaiting the arrival of their son Andy (Noah Rabideau) and his companion Randi (Julianna Wendling). Like most holiday family gatherings, this play is true to form in the family’s relatability. There are arguments, surprises, and major clashes on one of the three Christmas hot topics—religion. From various levels of Catholicism to a non-practicing Jew turned atheist, the tension is palpable. Questions arise around dealing with tragedy and finding the balance of past belief with modern upgrades. 

This is where the younger son Mickey comes into play. Intellectually disabled, Mickey is a fellow of few words until a “spirit” named Lucius comes upon him, speaking truth and perspectives the family has never thought about or ignored for many years. What happens when the visiting son Andy learns something new about his father that could change everything he has ever known? How does a mystery phone call that should never have happened reconnect a relationship? What does it mean to have a relationship with mixed faiths, and how does that work with future children? As one finishes their time with the Dudzick family, one’s own light surrounding current life may shine just a little bit brighter. 

           Despite some dialogue or opening night jitters, the cast did well. Yet, the linchpin to this production is Hannah Court’s portrayal of both Mickey and Lucius. Court’s portrayal of Mickey was lovable, joyful, and simplistic. Even in moments where Mickey was in the background, Court’s energy and presence stood out. When Lucius appeared, Court made the change to that character effortlessly, including multiple physical and vocal changes. Neither character would have been easy to portray, thus, an even larger shout out is due to Court’s ability to so seamlessly switch between these two characters. 

           Other kudos include Daphne Navarre and Kaiser Henning for the set. Being that the home was supposed to have issues but still have the Christmas spirit, they hit that on the nose. The Christmas tree itself was beautiful, especially the child-like ornaments, making it feel even more like Andy or Mickey had made them in years past. Speaking of Navarre, one could also tell she put a lot of work into this production as her name was throughout the program, from stage manager to sound. 

           This ninety-minute play went by very fast. One will find overall enjoyment with many jokes, giggles, and a gathering that many of us can relate to. I would recommend taking a moment to visit Clio Cast and Crew this holiday season. Allow yourself to bring back to your own family gatherings a broader perspective of connection that can all start with a simple “Greetings!”

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 810-687-2588 or go online to https://www.cliocastandcrew.com/. Covid curious patrons–the current sign states “Masks Recommended.”  

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