Theater review: A bee-hive rockin’ Christmas in Berkeley

l-r, Darby Gould, Katie Guthorn, and Carol Bozzio Littleton as The Coverlettes Photo by David Allen
In Review

The Coverlettes Cover Christmas

2.5 out of 5 stars
2.5 out of 5 stars - 'Comme ci, comme ça'
Aurora Theatre, Berkeley
www.auroratheatre.org
Review by
l-r, Darby Gould, Katie Guthorn, and Carol Bozzio Littleton as The Coverlettes Photo by David Allen
l-r, Darby Gould, Katie Guthorn, and Carol Bozzio Littleton as The Coverlettes Photo by David Allen

Bee-hive yourself for the holidays. Fictious girl-group The Coverlettes dust-off their bee-hives for one more go around of 60s tunes and favorite Christmas medleys at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley.

It’s a brisk 70 minutes of light-hearted, lounge-like entertainment with a potpourri of numbers including “He’s A Rebel,” “You Keep Me Hanging On,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and, of course, “White Christmas.”

The three singers are talented, certainly harmonious in delivery.

Darby Gould (Stella) brings Janis Joplin grit, with a helping of hip 70s Cher. Carol Bozzio Littleton (Ella) has performed on MTV and won star search. No doubt, her glittery gold mini-dress put a sparkle in all the gentleman’s eyes last evening. Katie Guthorn (Bella) fronts the group, bringing powerful, edgy vocals that anchor the mid-range.

A three piece band— piano, bass, drums—accompany the girl group, and also provides for some romantic banter throughout the show.

Overall, it’s a decent night out. The show is caught in an odd place though. Since it’s a lounge act, it feels somewhat out of place in a theater. Some audience interaction, for example, feels more forced than it should. Still, they bring plenty of energy, and if you grew up with groups like The Ronettes, The Marvelettes, The Crystals and The Shangri-Las, then be prepared for many fond memories.

There are two highlights at The Coverlettes show last night.

The first was a searing performance by Darby Gould (who replaced Grace Slick in Starship Jefferson in 1992). During her solo, she sang Joni Mitchell’s River,  “I wish I had a river / I could skate away on.” Man, can she sing it. But she pulled back, too, at the right moments, allowing the emotion to soak in. The combination of restraint with the aforementioned Janis Joplin-like grizzle really made the performance memorable.

The other special moment was, surprisingly, Beyonce’s Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It). The energy of the show peaked perfectly here, as the girls waved their hands back and forth to the danceable number.

The Coverlettes Cover Christmas
2.5 out of 5 stars
Aurora Theatre Company
Berkeley
through December 27
$25 subscribers, $28 general admission
auroratheatre.org
510-843-4822

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