Come Wassailing with A Mad, Mad Madrigal: A Winter Solstice Musical in Tryon

“A Mad, Mad, Madrigal: A Winter Solstice Musical” is a delightful evening of gorgeous music, clever skits, and surprising snacks that will hopefully become a new family holiday tradition in Tryon. Produced by Solstice Theatre as part of Tryon Little Theater’s Out of the Box” series, this zany show weaves Madrigal music, Monty Python-esque skits, and the celebration of the seasonal return of light and longer days heralded by the Winter Solstice into an evening that will refresh your heart and mind this Yuletide.

First, the music. The sixteen cast members/chorus are a delight with gorgeous harmonies, some performed acapella and some accompanied by a small band including piano, guitar and drums. Your program includes the words to Wassail, Deck the Halls, and Sing Ho, for the audience to join in the fun. In addition the cast performs beautiful renditions of Dona Nobis Pacem, The Holly and the Ivy, The Boar’s Head Carol, Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth, and original comic songs by Stan Peal including “I Eat Rocks,””The Berrymen’” and some new lyrics to other songs.

The creative team behind Solstice Theatre and A Mad, Mad, Madrigal are husband-wife team Stan Peal (writer) and Laura Depta Peal (director) who also perform in the show. Some of the cast members come from Charlotte where A Mad Mad Madrigal was originally produced in 2003, 2004, and 2007. Visiting Charlotte actors include Andrew Barron, Julie Janorschke Gawle, Paul Goodson, and Hank West, who along with Stan Peal have wicked comic chops and had me non-stop giggling all evening. The cast also included many local favorites from the Tryon Little Theatre including Darlene Cah, Connie Fry Cedervall, Tena Greene, Rachel Harris, Samantha Rae Lee, Pam McNeil, Joel Perkins, Mark Sawyer, Guy Winker, and Karen Workman. Standout performances include Tena Greene’s depiction of Max the Dirt Nibbler and Queen Harlet, and Guy Winkler as The Oak King, and Bobbin Good (like Robin Hood but he saves the Wine).

This performance was my first experience of the rustic and charming Sunnydale Log Cabin, the perfect venue for this Renaissance Fair style show. Sunnydale provides an intimate space with cabaret style table seating to enjoy the snacks and wassail served to the audience during the performance as well as refreshments available for purchase at the bar in the adjoining room.

As this show celebrates the Winter Solstice this Saturday, you only have four chances to catch this magical madrigal starting tonight, Friday, December 20 at 7:30, with additional performances Saturday December 21 at 1:30 and 7:30, and Sunday, December 21 at 1:30. Performances are at the Sunnydale Log Cabin, at 334 South Trade Street in Tryon and tickets are available at Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children 14 and under.

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