Review by Liz Eichler of “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some”: Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
The Holiday Hits keep coming! Like a Jack in the Box (or a Charlie in the Box) “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)” is a guaranteed laugh. Audience interaction is half of what makes this show a special annual treat. The comic genius of your CSC resident pros wraps this up as a Holiday Must See. In case the title doesn’t give it away, this is a show about 3 actors (and drunk Santa); one wants to put on a production of “A Christmas Carol” while the others argue there are other great holiday classics worth portraying on stage. They perform iconic snippets and ridiculous mashups that will raise your spirits and bring good cheer.
Billy Chace is the comedic backbone of CSC. Fresh off playing Falstaff in “Merry Wives of Windsor,” Chace knows how to work a crowd. Someone does something unusual in the crowd—watch out! You’re fair game for a good-humored joke. If Chase is the backbone, Justin McCombs the rib tickler. Physical comedy is his shtick, from making fun of his dad bod, to his timing of all sorts of silliness. Miranda McGee is hysterical as drunk Santa, happy to sit on your lap. Lounging in her sleigh (with multiple parking violations) she’s watching you throughout the show–while enjoying quite a few Fosters. Maggie Lou Rader (recently Maggie in “Cat on a Hot Tim Roof”) is the straight woman, showing us her funny side as the Grinch (or is it a T Rex?) and so many more. CSC Drinking Game: drink every time Maggie says “Marley was dead,” as she tries to get the gang refocused on her ultimate Christmas Classic.
Directed by Jeremy Dubin, written by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald and John K. Alvarez, there’s a nod to every holiday classic of your childhood (Charlie Brown, Chipmunks, Elf, A Child’s Christmas in Wales, etc.) with some current and local nods (Baby Yoda), Cincinnati’s Blink, and of course, Kentucky. Justin Locke as Scenic and Lighting Designer has had some fun of his own, enveloping the audience in every Christmas decoration and then some. Abbi Howson’s costumes are festive, bright, and fun.
There’s a lot of hot holiday tickets out there, and this is one of the hottest. Bring your office buddies, your adult children, but leave the young kids home, have some cheer at the bar and get ready for a great 2 hours of laughter in “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some)”. Playing only through December 29, many shows are sold out. Contact www.cincyshakes.com or call 513-381-BARD.