The popular Unauthorized Musical Parody Of (UMPO) series has another holiday-themed hit at Rockwell Table & Stage with their take on Home Alone, which is returning for its second year. In a refreshingly female-driven take on a movie that definitely does not pass the Bechdel test, this parody pokes fun at the blatant white privilege of the McCallister family and combines Christmas music with pop hits, resulting in an undeniably fun evening.
Home Alone was released in 1990 and, of course, tells the story of Kevin McCallister, a precocious eight-year-old boy who is accidentally left behind at his home outside Chicago when his large family flies to Paris for Christmas. While he initially relishes the unexpected freedom, things take a turn when he must defend his home against some opportunistic burglars known as the Wet Bandits.
Here, Kevin and the Wet Bandits are all played by women. Natalie Lander, fresh off her roles in UMPO Bridesmaids and UMPO Mean Gurlz, has never sounded better than she does as Kevin, belting out Heart’s “Alone” (a spin on the lyrics incorporates the phrase “home alone”) and Kelly Clarkson’s “Miss Independent,” revised to be “Mr. Independent.” Her fellow Bridesmaids alum Nohely Quiroz steals every scene she is in as Harry, the brains behind the Wet Bandits’ operation, while Sarah Wolter provides the charm and comic relief as sidekick Marv. Kate McCallister was played by swing and alternate Leslie McKinnel at the performance attended and she was fantastic, belting out Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and Adele’s “Hello,” a perfect choice for the scenes where Kate is desperately trying to get in touch with anyone in the United States who may be able to check on her son. Rounding out the cast were Damon Gravina as Peter McCallister and Old Man Marley, Jason Ryan Bornstein as Buzz McCallister and Gus Polinski (Polka King of the Midwest), and Amanda Kruger and Andy Arena as the rest of the characters.
Written by UMPO founder Kate Pazakis and Ray Wetmore and directed by Marty Thomas, Home Alone possesses all the trademarks of an UMPO show: a very talented cast, a lot of recurring jokes, no fourth wall, and an extremely self-aware look back at a movie that while classic, is definitely a bit dated. Kate boasts about her incredible new cordless phone that she can “take anywhere” and Kevin’s remote control is comically large, hallmarks of the early 90s. The size of the McCallisters’ mansion and the extravagance of flying an entire family to Paris for Christmas are regularly mocked, with the characters often pointing out that they are indeed “rich and white.” Before the show even begins, the audience is encouraged to drink every time the words “home alone” are spoken, and in keeping with that, every time the characters repeat the film’s title someone appears with a tray of shots and they oblige.
Refreshingly, this parody has no framing device, and simply presents the movie as is. While the staging possibilities of Kevin’s booby traps are obviously limited in this setting, very funny props are creatively used to great effect, and the whole affair is staged as a boxing match, Kevin versus the Wet Bandits, all to the song “Eye of the Tiger.” The best visual gag, which I won’t spoil and is still making me chuckle to think about, comes at the moment when Kevin ziplines across his yard to the neighbors’ house. Between the use of songs such as “Santa Baby” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and the festive decorations throughout Rockwell, the whole affair is bursting with Christmas spirit. If you’re looking for some fun and holiday cheer, look no further than UMPO Home Alone.
The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Home Alone runs through December 30th at Rockwell Table & Stage. Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights with an afternoon brunch show on Sundays. Tickets range from $29 to $49 and can be purchased here. Please note that Rockwell policy also requires a 2 item minimum purchase of food and/or drinks per person, and these items can be enjoyed during the performance. UMPO shows are often double cast, so the performers mentioned in this review will not appear on all dates. For more information about this show and upcoming shows, follow @umposeries on social media.