Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Christmas Carol – or something

A Chirstmas Carol program cropped This past week’s second theater outing was a non-traditional Christmas Carol with Munchkinhead put on by Milwaukee Entertainment Group at the Brumder mansion.

We took our seats in the small basement theater, nice high chairs in the back, and quickly learned that it was going to be an interactive evening.  Oh dear.

The small cast, well two of the three members, were bustling around the room handing out props and parts.  We each received a small square plastic wrapper of some sort.  Open, empty and with a suspicious expiration date on it.  This was our “fire” noise.  It did sound remarkably like a crackling fire. 

I was handed a small handbell, A6, and just as I was about to offer katrina in hat (1)it to Munchkinhead, who acutally plays handbells at church, Lori Minnetti – lottery girl, and everybody-but-Scrooge in this production, approached with a script part.  “I have a bell!” I declared.  “Well then, it will have to be you,” she said turning to Munchkinhead.  “You’ll be the plump sister.”  Lori warned Munchkinhead that she’d be chased, put a fun red bonnet on her head, left her the script and went off to find a dog.

The production began with an introduction by the third actor, James P. Iaquinta – who I’ve apparently seen as Santa aside The Great Ecclestone’s Rudolph.  He explained the history of A Christmas Carol, announced the story’s 170th birthday and then went into a spectacularly inaccurate account of 19th century copyright law that bothered me for the rest of the evening.  Mr. Iaquinta narrated the story by reading Dickens’ own abbreviated-for-public-performance version and interspersed it with a wonderful rendition of Scrooge and occasionally a bit of another character.

Overall, the production came off well.  Many of the impromptu audience-cum-cast members  had some difficulties coming in on cue, saying the right lines, or remembering which part they had, but several were good.  There was an amazingly good dog and the prop lady could really dance.  Munchkinhead managed to blush on cue, did her lines well and gave the third actor, Ted Tyson, a good run for it when he chased the plump sister all over the room.  She was in and out of the rows of chairs so quick.  Scrooge had an off-cuff remark about her being to spry for the old man.  I wondered if he was supposed to have caught her.  Out running him in heels, that’s my little sister!

It’s definitely a different way to do A Christmas Carol, but it’s the right play to do differently.  If your up for a little adventure, some silly hats and spending your evening blowing to make wind sounds, this is your show.

A Christmas Carol at Milwaukee Entertainment Group runs one more show this weekend.  Tickets are available here: http://www.milwaukeeentertainmentgroup.com/.

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