The latest Reader performing arts reviews | Bleader

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The latest Reader performing arts reviews

Posted By on 12.01.11 at 01:00 PM

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Goodman Theatres A Christmas Carol
As we note on the cover of the Arts & Culture section this week, the Christmas rush is on. Reader critics reviewed no less than 11 holiday shows for the December 1 issue, plus a few like Theo Ubique's Pump Boys and Dinettes, the Hypocrites' remounted Pirates of Penzance, and a touring production of Broadway's Memphis that stand ready to serve those of us who may feel festive, but not particularly Christian, at this time of year. Oddly, a Halloween play, Orange Orbs, slipped in among the rest. Next week we'll be running reviews of ten more seasonal entertainments, including Hannukatz, but not—I've put my foot down—Donnie & Marie: Christmas in Chicago.

Of course, there are the perennials—shows that come back Christmas after Christmas, so that the dialogue starts to feel more familiar than any liturgy. The undisputed king of these is Goodman Theatre's A Christmas Carol, now in its 34th year, while the nobility includes The Christmas Schooner, American Blues Theater's It's a Wonderful Life: Live at the Biograph (presented as a World War II-era radio show), Redmoon's winter pageant, and for you United Church of Christ types, the stage adaptation of David Sedaris's "The Santaland Diaries." Bucking for a knighthood is Commedia Beauregard's A Klingon Christmas Carol. Back for its second year, it's exactly what the title suggests: a version of Charles Dickens's story performed entirely in the language of Star Trek's Klingons and even infused with their values.

Among the new entries are Silent Theatre's A Christmas Carol: The Silent Bah-humbug, Provision Theater's The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (a melting-curmudgeon story that substitutes "pish posh" for "bah-humbug"), and Tinsel: The Musical from Li'l Buds children's theater. Comedy-centric pH Productions supplies The Santa Stories in two flavors: family-friendly "nice" and late-night "naughty."

Speaking of flavors, Dan Jakes samples a dinner-theater offering called Crime and Pun-ishment. And for a more exotic cuisine, there's Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago's west African program, "Spice It Up."

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