Giggles and Grins for Christmas

ATNO Spoofs A Christmas Carol

Tuesday December 11, 07
by Tricia Danflous,

An audience perspective review
by Tricia Danflous
with guest comments by Bailey and Riley

“This is a very funny show. My favorite part is when all the actors run around the stage, fall down and do funny things.” – Bailey, age four and three-fourths.

“I liked it when the man takes off his shirt and does a dance.” - Riley, age three and a quarter, and able to sit through the entire show without any signs of restlessness.

A Christmas Carol – the Whole Story at Actor’s Theatre of New Orleans is billed as family entertainment. And it is. There’s nothing better than seeing your kids or grandkids giggle, laugh – and get squirted with water (first two rows only) – as they enjoy a show. Adults will also enjoy the pleasingly pathetic puns, tongue twisters and alliterations as Charles Dickens’ classic tale takes some interesting twists and diversions.

René J. F. Piazza is a loud and booming Scrooge in the ATNO presentation he wrote, directed and first produced 16 years ago. With a little bit of Jackie Gleason, Soupy Sales and Carol Burnett; shades of Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Fractured Fairie Tales, Keystone Kops, and the Three Stooges, Piazza and his small cast playing a multitude of roles make you forget your worries for a couple of hours.

Twisting Dickens’ tale of money-hungry Scrooge as he journeys through Christmas past, present and future is nothing new. Piazza’s take, however, is refreshingly crazy and creative for a rollicking good time, especially if you enjoy slapstick and love fairy tales.

If you’re an Ethel Merman devotee, you’ll appreciate the show even more with a purposefully over-the-top performance by Rebecca Taliancich as the Ghost of Christmas Present or is that stage presence?

David Glasser plays a goofy, elfish Tiny Tim who generates no sympathy, but that’s okay. He doesn’t have to say anything – just looking at him will make you laugh.

It’s a fun show, a good show. Don’t go to see great costumes, exquisite sets or a cast of thousands. Grab the kids, review theatre etiquette with the little ones, and have a happy, holiday time. The Christmas Carol – the Whole Story is a wise man’s alternative to cartoons.

Back Row Facts:

Length of play – two hours, including a 15 minute intermission.

Language and Lewd Factor – no off-color language at all.

Family fitness - great for families. An ideal production and setting to introduce youngsters to stage shows.

It’s a puzzlement! What makes Dickens classic such fodder for spoofs? Maybe it’s time to re-read the original.