Shedding A New Light Onto the Holidays: “Every Christmas Story Ever Told!” Review
Are you ready for the Holidays yet?
No matter what your answer to that question may be, the holiday season has apparently begun, and the time for every family to haul out and dust off their yearly traditions is soon to arrive. These traditions may include any number and variety of favorite ???rituals??? that just seem to make the Holidays just that– holidays. And this holiday season, one play, simply titled Every Christmas Story Ever Told!, dares to take these traditions and view them in a whole new –and completely twisted– light.
Presented by Noble Fool Theatricals at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois, Every Christmas Story Ever Told! takes a multitude of recognized holiday ???classics??? and turns them upside down, presenting them in a whole new, and quite hilarious way. Timeless works such as Dickens??? ???A Christmas Carol,??? and Charles Schultz???s ???Charlie Brown???s Christmas,??? along with holiday staples such as The Macy???s Thanksgiving Day Parade and fruitcake are all viewed in a fresh, new way that analyzes the holiday while at the same time parodying it.
In Every Christmas Story, actors Brennan Buhl, Scott Stangland, and Bob Turton play three actors who are forced to perform another ???drab??? rendition of ???A Christmas Carol??? in order to get health insurance. But, as it turns out, Buhl???s character, John, and Stangland???s character, Michael, are sick of doing the same old story year after year, and want to do something different by performing all of the other BHCs (John???s term for ???beloved holiday classics???). Turton???s character, Jim, actually likes to perform Dickens??? classic, as it is his idea of a Christmas tradition. So, after a bit of convincing, both John and Michael get Jim to help them perform as many of the BHCs they can fit into an hour and a half, thus beginning a hilarious whirlwind of holiday nostalgia and parody that lasts throughout the rest of the play.
As mentioned above, the play consists of only three actors who in turn portray three actors performing a play. Each of the three portray a classic character archetype that is truly unique in and of themselves. Stangland???s character, Michael, is the loquacious leader of the group who heads up the evening???s effort to portray as many holiday stories as they possibly can. Turton???s character, John, is the logical and somewhat stern ???middle man??? who still wishes to honor the traditional classics, but is not totally adverse to perform humorous parodies of the modern ones. The third and final character, John, is the blatant comic foil (more so than the others) who maintains the innocence of a child while he flaunts the often uproarious humor of an adult. Together, these three actors expertly maneuver within each of their characters ???boundaries??? to work with each other to create continuous laugh riot.
One thing that makes Every Christmas Story so unique and fun is that it takes the imaginary fourth wall of the performing arts and smashes it to little, candy colored pieces. It is a play within a play that is wholly aware of its audience to the point that they are actually part of the performance. Not only is this apparent in the two audience participation skits in the play, but the three actors actually talk to the audience, referencing to individual people and incorporating specific details into the play itself. By doing this, the audience is able to not only enjoy the play on a somewhat participatory level, but they can better relate to it as well.
Every Christmas Story Ever Told! is the perfect comedy for the holiday season. Its hilarity will split your sides with laughter, while at the same time its warmth and (occasional) innocence will touch your heart.
Every Christmas Story Ever Told! is playing now through December 29, 2007 at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois. For more information or to order tickets, please visit noblefool.org or call the theater box office at (630) 584-6342.
Actors Brennan Buhl, Scott Stangland, and Bob Turton playing actors John, Michael, and Jim.