Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Christmas Carol

Tiny Tim is a deejay for the town's radio station, Scrooge is a nerdy entrepreneur, Crachett is a woman. This modern-day Christmas Carol musical (currently at the Vortex Theatre) makes systemic revisions to the story, mostly in pursuit of satiric social comment. Although just about everything has been done to disturb the conventions of holiday-time stories (it's even set during a heat wave: one of the show's funniest moments occurs when a character proposes that everyone think of global warming as a new kind of Christmas miracle) the tone of the show is not abrasive or condascending: there's real invention here rather than nose-thumbing. Risky and rule-breaking, with edgy hybrid musical sensibilities that (save for one brassy show-stopping piano number for the Ghost of Christmas Present) have not the faintest whiff of Broadway, the show is "downtown" in the best sense of the word. However, it's stuffed with so many distortions and revisions of the oft-told Dickens tale that it loses narrative focus: we lose the forest for the trees.

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