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SpeakEasy is ‘Striking’ out with their latest

Creators of “Striking 12” claim it began “as a way for the members of (the band) GrooveLily to make some money … between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.” Unfortunately, SpeakEasy Stage Company’s current production of what they’re billing as the “alternative holiday musical” feels much the same.

Creators of “Striking 12” claim it began “as a way for the members of (the band) GrooveLily to make some money … between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.” Unfortunately, SpeakEasy Stage Company’s current production of what they’re billing as the “alternative holiday musical” feels much the same.

The premise, an unhappy New Yorker trying to spend New Year’s Eve alone, is rife with potential. Its execution, however, fails miserably. The silly re­in­ter­pretation of Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Match Girl” is brimming with the kind of contrived holiday schmaltz that inspires a need for alternative holiday fare in the first place.

The music, a mishmash of jazz and pop, ranges from a corny winter number “Snow Song” to a plethora of over-the-top ballads, most of which would work beautifully in a sappy heartfelt holiday show. Even the most enjoyable number, “Screwed-Up People” boasting lyrics like “screwed-up people make great art, but Yanni is completely well-adjusted” isn’t that great.

The story is told by three musicians who also serve as actors, repeatedly breaking the fourth wall to engage in light-hearted banter about the characters, the show and why “The Little Drummer Boy” isn’t the tale they’re telling.

Keyboardist José Delgado delivers the trio’s most impressive performance, with charming stage presence and incredible musical talent. Zachary Hardy also shines with solid vocals and skilled drumming. Violinist Erikka Walsh doesn’t fare quite as well. Despite incredible musical talent, her vocals are inconsistent at best.

“Striking 12” may be striving to be a hip alternative to traditional holiday fare, but the end result feels like everyone’s trying just a little too hard to make it look effortless.

‘Striking 12’
Through Jan. 2
Calderwood Pavilion
527 Tremont St., Boston
$25-$55, 617-933-8600
www.speakeasystage.com

 
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