The Christmas That Almost Wasn't | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Christmas That Almost Wasn't 

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The Christmas That Almost Wasn't, Child's Play Touring Theatre, at Goodman Theatre. In this hour-long show, professional actors perform three stories written by schoolchildren: Dinky the Dancing Reindeer, the cute tale of a reindeer torn between her love for pulling Santa's sleigh and her desire to dance; How Santa Got Well, the less original story of Santa falling ill the day before Christmas; and Santa and the Witch, in which an evil being casts a sleeping spell on Santa, then reverses it. Overall the fun is best suited to the young in age, not at heart: despite a few jokes for grown-ups, the target audience is 6- to 12-year-olds, who are occasionally invited onstage and often interact by singing along and calling out suggestions.

June Podagrosi directs the exuberant cast, who play well to the young crowd in broadly physical performances enhanced by Darrell Barber's appropriate, sometimes slyly witty musical accompaniment. Perry Cavitt is a jolly Santa, and Janet Ulrich Brooks is an entertaining witch, but the actors who truly make the show are Vito Gioia as an enthusiastic elf and Tamara Walker as the sweetly confused Dinky.

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