INDIANAPOLIS — “A Beef & Boards Christmas” is a whirlwind mix of the Radio City Rockettes, the USO, the old “Lawrence Welk Show” and a Busby Berkeley musical. If you can tolerate the lounge show tempo of most of the songs, then you’re in for a delightful holiday evening.
Although advanced publicity featured Kenny Shepherd and Deb Wims as the host and hostess, the real show-stealer was Kendra Lynn Lucas, whose rendition of “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus” was the show-stopper for the evening. Her heartfelt “O Holy Night” earned a standing ovation from some in the audience.
The evening goes by so quickly with nonstop singing and dancing that you’re surprised when the lights come up at the end of the first act in just 40 minutes, and your server is bringing your dessert.
“A Beef & Boards Christmas” certainly operates under the adage of “there’s something for everyone,” so we can indulge them their inclusion of such children’s numbers as “The Grinch” and “Santa and the Chipmunks” complete with performers in somewhat ghastly team mascot-style costumes.
Rudolph flew in — literally — to dance and cavort for the song named after him, sung in the style of Frank Sinatra, and darned if it didn’t morph into a “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”/”Come Fly With Me” mash-up.
The impressively tight instrumentals by the Beef & Boards Orchestra playing parts of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and a wonderful cover of “Carol of the Bells” added variety to the evening. The quick costume changes by the performers between nearly every number were breathtaking and added color and glitz to the production.
The tear-jerker moment of the evening was the solo by Matt Branic dressed as a serviceman and standing at the back of the room, lit by a single spot, and singing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” This was followed by the rest of the performers on stage, all dressed in the uniforms of various branches of the armed forces singing “White Christmas,” inspired by a scene from the movie by the same name.
All in all, Beef & Boards puts on a quality show. The accompanying meal is good, the service is wonderful, and you’ll get a chance to have your photo taken with Santa and the elves at intermission. Patrons leave the theater full of Christmas cheer and believing what the Beef & Board singers declare in their last selection: it is “The Most Wonderful time of the Year.”
“A Beef & Boards Christmas” runs through Wednesday. For reservations, call the Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre Box Office at 317-872-9664.