OH, WHAT FUN! Laughs Abound at Act II

by Paul Recupero

Tony Braithwaite, Will Dennis, Howie Brown and Sonny Leo star in Act II Playhouse’s holiday variety show OH, WHAT FUN!, onstage Dec. 11-30. (Photo credit: Nina Price Photography)

Act II Playhouse’s current offering, OH, WHAT FUN!, has arrived just in time for the holiday season.  Like last year’s similar LAUGHING ALL THE WAY, this variety show features the uproarious talents of Tony Braithwaite, strongly supported by the multifaceted comic trio of Howie Brown, Will Dennis and Sonny Leo.

As the show professes at its outset, “funny bits”, “improv bits” and “songs that make you laugh” fill the next eighty minutes.  The show drives along at a fast clip.  Some great moments from LAUGHING return, such as Murray the Melf (Santa’s apathetic “mail-room elf” from Yonkers) and adapting the plot of “It’s a Wonderful Life” to fit the life of a randomly chosen audience member.

One quibble I had with last year’s LAUGHING was that the show tried to expand its appeal to “kids from 1 to 92” and, in the process, at times came off a bit unfocused.  This year, Act II wisely decided to splinter off a separate children’s production, allowing OH, WHAT FUN! to incorporate topically relevant political and celebrity humor, which likely would fly over the heads of the very young.  One example is Braithwaite’s sharing of letters to Santa from Washington and Hollywood’s “finest”, covertly intercepted on their way to the North Pole.  Another great new segment is Braithwaite’s reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” in the various voices of well-known figures, past and present.  Per usual, his impressions are hilariously spot-on.

Brown, Dennis and Leo provide solid support.  Leo, who accompanies the musical bits, particularly shines in a rendition of “I Love a Piano” from WHITE CHRISTMAS, complete with impressive tap dancing.  Other welcomed moments include the return of Carson’s Carnac, a medley of little-known Christmas songs, and a specific musical guest each night.

OH, WHAT FUN! showcases the comedy of Braithwaite and co. at its finest and provides more than a healthy dose of laughs for the most wonderful time of the year.

Written by and featuring: Tony Braithwaite, Howie Brown, Will Dennis and Sonny Leo
Dec. 11 – 30, 2012
Act II Playhouse
56 E. Butler Ave.
Ambler, PA 19002
(215) 654-0200


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