Theater Review | Thru Dec. 22/31 During the holidays, tradition is often emphasized. Even in the theater, of course, there are holiday traditions; the most notable being Charles Dickens" A Christmas Carol.
Ty and Holly Stover in "A Beef & Boards Christmas"
For many years, the Indiana Repertory Theatre has been staging a first-rate adaptation of A Christmas Carol by Tom Haas, former IRT artistic director. After a 12-year absence, it returned in 1996, and this year marks its 12th time onstage. As in years past, the show is a carol- and snow-filled scene straight out of a storybook. The IRT creates one of the most classic Christmas productions possible: Mounds of snow swirl and fall on actors dressed in reproductions of turn-of-the-century attire. Lighting is used for highly dramatic results, and props spring from the snowy recesses like magic. Chuck Goad, the city"s favorite Scrooge, takes on the role again this year for another uplifting performance. Cast and crew, as always, perfect the retelling of the short story, utilizing both narration and dialogue. Sound effects, as well as the exposed columns and ornate fixtures usually hidden behind sets, create an eerie and otherworldly feel before dropping Scrooge back into a jubilant Christmas Day. The IRT"s 2002 A Christmas Carol runs through Dec. 22 on the Mainstage. For tickets, $24-$44, call 635-5252. Stuffing and Santa Another longtime local tradition is the Beef & Boards Christmas show, now in its 10th year. A Beef & Boards Christmas (formerly the Christmas Spectacular) is a musical revue of holiday tunes. The traditional banter between Santa and Mrs. Claus (played by siblings Ty and Holly Stover) has been all but eliminated except for a quick serving at the beginning. Now, you get a succession of favorites, as well as carols that may be new to you. Separated into five segments, it"s non-stop music except for the presentation of ""Twas the Night before Christmas." A reading of the poem is interspersed with songs that (mostly) correspond to the action in the poem. Otherwise, you can expect everything from a sparkling kickline to Ty as a slightly dilapidated but entertaining and effective Elvis. All numbers are performed superbly. However, without the Santa banter, the show seems long. In past performances, even when the dialogue consisted of groan-producing bad jokes, the breaks created a nice balance with the musical numbers. A Beef & Boards Christmas continues through Dec. 31. Tickets are $27-$47, which includes dinner and the show. Call 872-9664 for reservations.