Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Theater review: Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge goes hilariously haywire at Lakeside Community Theatre
Sometimes Christmas stories are best when satirically manifested.
THE COLONY Christopher Durang has several intriguing strengths. He can take behavior that surpasses what we commonly refer to as “over the top,” and make it genuinely funny. He can expose the lapses in sacrosanct logic and likewise make them the occasion for hilarity and merriment. He can take improbable situations and make them seem plausible. In Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All For You, Sister Mary spontaneously murders a gay man who’s just recently made confession. Earlier in the comedy, she confiscates a revolver from a student. By executing a gay alumnus, before he can sin again, she sends “him straight to heaven.” Durang finds abundant satirical possibilities from the collision of ideology and practicality.
In Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge, Durang attempts to spoof traditional and beloved Christmas stories (It’s A Wonderful Life, The Gift of the Magi) but, obviously, predominantly, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Durang’s point seems to be (ironically) that we can’t take these stories seriously, because of several flaws — 1. The plot is unbelievable 2. The story’s too manipulative 3. The characters too stupid to deserve our sympathy. Apparently Bob Crachit is a nebbish because he doesn’t seek better employment or stop taking on more children than he can afford. Consequently Mrs. Crachit is disgusted and ready to bail.
It’s interesting to note that Mrs. Bob Cratchit begins by asserting that Ebenezer Scrooge has always hated Christmas, even as a boy. This is wholly inconsistent with the original text, that explained Scrooge actually loved Christmas as much as anyone else, before traumatic events at Yuletide eclipsed the pleasure he might normally feel. But considering this is a satire, perhaps such lapses are irrelevant. The ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Yet-to-Be takes Scrooge on his famous odyssey, but to no avail. Gradually the story focuses more on Mrs. Cratchit. She is allowed to see (ala It’s a Wonderful Life) what the world would have been like without her. For no discernible reason, two of the brood are now pets, a dog and a pony? Grotesquely, this result only convinces her that she was right to drown herself in the Thames. In her next life she gleefully assumes the role of Leona Helmsley, and Scrooge, her husband, the hotel mogul.
The cast and crew of Lakeside Community Theatre’s production, put remarkable energy, devotion and dedication into Mrs. Bob Cratchit, an ambivalent black comedy that amply demonstrates Durang’s penchant for establishing a premise, then tossing it out the window and playing with the box it came in. That combined with his predilection for going off on tangents and strangely resolute metaphors (“You look like a bowl of oatmeal.”) make for an eccentric, amusing evening of holiday cheer.
Lakeside Community Theatre proudly presents Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge, playing December 7th-22nd, 2012. 6303 Main Street, The Colony, Texas 75056. 214-801-4869. www.lctthecolony.org
Pegasus News Content partner - Christopher Soden, Dallas GLBT Arts Examiner
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