REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

Striking 12

The “Un-Holiday Holiday MusicalStriking 12 at Boho theater

Book, Music & Lyrics by Brendan Milburn,

Rachel Sheinkin & Valerie Vigoda

Directed by Lara Filip

Produced by Peter Blair

At BoHo Theatre at Heartland

Whimsical material deftly performed makes Striking 12 a treat

If you are tired of all those sweet, cute and Christmas shows featuring  those familiar carols, then Striking 12 may suit your holiday show needs. Striking 12 is a creative, original anti-holiday musical that speaks to the 20-30somethings  who detest the winter holidays.

Striking 12 at Boho theater

The show is acted, sung and played musically by four talented triples threats: Eric Loughlin (keyboard), Mallory Nees (Guitar & Bass), Dustin Valenta (Percussion) and Amy Steele (Violin).  Set in the intimate digs at BoHo’s Heartland home in Rogers Park,  we quickly get to like the four apparently cynical big-city singles who seem determined to celebrate the New Year with a party. However, Eril Loughlin, as the workaholic, volunteered to work late on New Year’s and then wishes to stay home and read a Hans Christian Anderson story: “The Little Match Girl” rather than drinking in the New Year with friends.

Striking 12 at Boho theater

We see Dustin Valenta, Mallory Nees and Amy Steele each try to persuade through clever songs to get Eric to join them at the party. The show moves into a nicely performed reenactment of  Anderson’s “The Little Match Girl.” Amy Steele leads with marvelous empathy and her stellar voice to the retelling of the sad tale. Mallory Nees and Dustin Valenta offered humor and fine vocals to the show. Once they solve the sound problems (all wore mics that were not working) that made some of the solos hard to hear and understand, Striking 12 will emerge as an even stronger urban fable.

The sheer effort and command of the stage by all four performers made for a breezy and heartfelt 80 minute show with a mixture cynicism and hope with a fine blend of pop/folk/rap and blues music with smart, witty lyrics that refreshingly reflect  the un-holiday mood of many 20-30somthings.  I appreciated the honest work from the cast.  I especially liked Amy Steele’s vocals. This show has a enticing charm.


Tom Williams

Striking 12 plays through January 8, 2011 at the Heartland Studio, located at 7016 N Glenwood Avenue in Rogers Park.  The show is 80 minutes with no intermission.  Performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 7:30pm and 10:00pm, Sundays at 5:00 p.m.  Note: there are no shows on December 24 or 25.  Ticket price is $15.  For tickets,  visit

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