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Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)

a Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Michael Carleton, Jim FitzGerald, and John K. Alvarez

COMPANY : Centerstage North Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The Art Place - Mountain View
ID# 5006

SHOWING : December 09, 2016 - December 17, 2016

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Instead of performing Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday classic for the umpteenth time, three actors decide to perform every Christmas story ever told — plus Christmas traditions from around the world, seasonal icons from ancient times to topical pop-culture, and every carol ever sung. A madcap romp through the holiday season.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Karen Worrall
Cast Max Flick
Cast Kevin Renshaw
Cast Steve Worrall
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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The Complete Works of Every BHC Author (Abridged)
by playgoer
Monday, December 19, 2016
2.5
BHC = Beloved Holiday Classic

"Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)" mashes together a bunch of Christmas stories and traditions into a holiday show very reminiscent of "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)." The first act concentrates on a litany of traditions and well-known TV holiday specials. The second act gives us more in-depth renditions of "A Christmas Story" and "A Christmas Carol," cleverly interspersing the plot of "It’s a Wonderful Life" when Clarence the angel shows up in place of the ghosts that visit Scrooge. It’s breezy and cheery, but it requires familiarity with all the TV specials and other stories being parodied (really summarized more than parodied). The traditions, on the other hand, are intended to be unfamiliar territory.

This is a three-character show, plus brief appearances by the stage manager (Ann Armstrong Patterson) and by Isabelle Renshaw as an iconic "A Christmas Story" prop. As in any small-cast show, the success of the show depends largely on the performances of each member of the cast. The two supernumeraries add very little to the show in their miniscule amount of time onstage. And Steve Worrall (husband of director Karen Worrall) actually detracts from the show with his uninspired and sometimes stumbling line readings and his stodgy stage presence. This is in direct contrast to Kevin Renshaw, who gives his everything to his roles and creates unique postures, voices, and looks for each of his characters. It’s a masterful performance, but it would need to be matched by two others to make the show fully successful. Max Flick, the third member of the trio, has good stage presence and energy, but doesn’t delineate his characters as distinctly as Mr. Renshaw seems able to do effortlessly.

The technical side of the production is laudable. Props and costumes, assembled by the cast and Ann & David Patterson, enliven the proceedings with their colorful variety. The set works beautifully and looks appropriately festive, simple though it is with green folding flats at the sides, wrapped like packages with red ribbon and bows, and a low wood platform center stage. Brenda Orchard’s sound meshes seamlessly into the action, and the delightful lighting by Brad & Barbara Rudy helps many segments come to life. Karen Worrall’s blocking keeps things moving and visible. If only she had been able to coax an acceptable performance out of her husband... But the fabulous performance by Kevin Renshaw almost makes the show worth seeing. Almost. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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