As soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers have been put away, a parade of Christmastime entertainment steps into center stage.
Twirling the golden baton are the holiday-themed movies more heartwarming than hot cocoa, and Christmas carols endlessly streaming on the radio. Oh, and thatâs just the beginning!
A majority of yuletide stories are based on Charles Dickensâ âA Christmas Carol.â The protagonist doesnât believe in the Christmas spirit until he is confronted with his own cynicism, and has to inspire Christmas joy in others.
While most holiday shows are filled with heart-warming moments and a just a dash of comedy, Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatreâs production of âA Dickensâ Christmas Carol: A Traveling Travesty in Two Tumultuous Actsâ will keep theatre-goers laughing all the way through intermission, while the heart-warming message is more of a side dish, family-friendliness included.
If you havenât seen any shows at The Edison this year, âA Dickensâ Christmas Carolâ is the one to see. Written by Mark Landon Smith, with highjinksâI mean directionâby Shira Dubrovner.
In Smithâs play-within-a-play, the London-based Styckes Upon Thomp Repertory Theatre is staging its final performance of the 15th annual production of the classic Scrooge tale.
When the troupeâs diva calls in sick, the rag-tag company of actors scrambles to pull together an accidently hilarious rendition of âA Christmas Carol.â
Halfway through Act I, the diva actress bursts into the theatre ready to fight her surprisingly talented understudy, Mrs. Cordelia Ffolkes-Ffortescue Woods, to regain the center stage. The fluctuation in the number of actors brings mirthful pranks and pratfalls to a steady stream of chaos of missed cues, slapstick comedy, and ridiculous special effects.
The original script remains almost entirely unchanged, with very few added lines or extra plot. In fact, the entire show runs a little over an hour, which is fantastic (otherwise we would all die laughing) but unfortunate that we canât take it home with us. Thereâs even a 15-minute breathing break halfway through.
Veteran performer Greg Young plays Sir Selsdon Piddock, portraying Ebenezer Scrooge. With over five years of Mammoth Lakes performances under his fancy top hat, Young is the perfect choice for the role of Piddock, playing the straight man with incredible amounts of energy. Piddockâs ego is so enormous he hardly notices the insanity around him, and Young pulls it off without distancing himself from the audience.
Gail Swain plays âtheatre legendâ Mrs. Bettina Salisbury (the diva) as cutesy yet intimidating, putting the fear of Macbeth in her fellow co-stars and following it up with a smile. Opposite Swain as Mrs. Cordelia Ffolkes-Ffortescue Woods, is Jarrett Jackson, who appeared in Sierrra Classic Theatreâs âThe Tempestâ this summer and MLRTâs âThe Odd Coupleâ (female version) last fall.
Jacksonâs comedic charm is in full swing while delivering some of the more passive-aggressive lines in the play.
No stranger to comedy, Tim Casey plays an actor struggling to play the many characters heâs been assigned. Casey absolutely steals the show with his Buster Keaton-like expressions and incredible physical comedy. From baby-powder projectile wigs, speedy costume changes and troublesome chains becoming wrapped around all the furniture on set, he was obviously the perfect blend of goofy and flexible for the part. Casey is also the Technical Director at the Edison Theatre.
Also joining the cast is long-time SCT Murder Mystery performer, the talented Jennifer Collins, who will be appearing this spring in âThe Miracle Worker.â Collins stands out as the talking Harpo Marx of the group by embracing subtle humor techniques, excellent timing, and irreverent facial expressions. Collins, with the other carolers, creates a memorable moment when they must stall for time.
While the handsome Drew Foster has preformed for SCT in the past, he is making his debut on the Edison stage. Foster does his best high-spirited overacting, a skill which is much harder to pull off than it may look. Fellow newcomer, Valerie Porges portrays the sweet understudy who never memorized a single line. Porges has instead not-so-cleverly hidden her lines inâand onâeverything âŠ her costume, a handkerchief âŠ even in the pudding!
As always, the production crew did an outstanding job. Recently the crew welcomed set designer and scenic painter June Simpkin to the team, who did a fantastic job painting the streets of London. Simpkin recently designed the elaborate pirate ship set for MLRTâs production of Bluenose, and will be providing her talents to future shows.
âA Dickensâ Christmas Carol A Traveling Travesty in Two Tumultuous Actsâ is playing at the Edison Theatre now until Dec. 23. Theatre goers might want to get their tickets soon, as some nights are already sold out. It plays Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. General Admission is $20, Students/ Seniors is $18 and $10 for children under 16 years old.
Visit www.mammothlakesfoundation.org/theatre or call 760-934-6592 for more information.