Theater We are officially entrenched in holiday entertainment offerings. If you are looking for something seasonal but off the beaten path, or something that has nary a poinsettia in sight, theater openings this weekend can accommodate you. Diane Kondrat plays the title character in ‘Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge’ at the Phoenix Theatre. • The Phoenix Theatre will present Christopher Durang’s Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge Dec. 2-26. It is a playful, cracked look at the perennial Dickens Christmas classic. In Durang’s giddy version, the Ghost’s magic is off, and Scrooge and the Ghost keep showing up at Bob Cratchit’s house way too early, where Mrs. Bob Cratchit — a long suffering saint in the Dickens tale — is in a state of fury, hating her life and planning on getting drunk and jumping off the London Bridge. Mrs. Bob also satirizes characters from other beloved holiday classics.
Shows are Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. (beginning Dec. 9), Thursdays at 6:30 p.m., Fridays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Performances Dec. 5 and Dec. 10 are sold out. Tickets are $22.50, $12 for those 24 and under. Half-price preview Dec. 2. For more info: 749 N. Park Ave., 635-PLAY, www.phoenixtheatre.org.
• Buck Creek Players’ holiday offering is a mouthful: The Butterfingers Angel, Mary & Joseph, Herod the Nut and the Slaughter of 12 Hit Carols in a Pear Tree. William Gibson’s play is an imaginative retelling of the Christmas story using short scenes, traditional Christmas music and antic characterization. The show runs Dec. 3-19, Fridays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 ($10 students and seniors). Buck Creek is located at 11150 Southeastern Ave. For info and reservations call 862-2270.
• If Christmas cheer makes you cringe, your alternative this week is a shocking dark comedy, Shopping and Fucking, by British playwright Mark Ravenhill. Presented by The Peoples Playhouse (Two Rooms), the play examines our sex- and money-dominated society at a microscopic level by following three lost souls who desperately struggle to find love and simply survive. Mark leaves his lovers Robbie and Lulu to rehabilitate and recover from his drug addiction, only to get involved with a young hustler who has issues all his own. Meanwhile, Robbie and Lulu seek legitimate jobs in fast food, home shopping and phone sex operating, but find themselves under the thumb of a high-class thug. Their journeys converge in a horrific climax that will change everyone forever. Director Scot Greenwell says, “The play — the title alone — is certainly shocking, but one need not look hard to see its quite valid comments on today’s world. Plus, it has the rare ability to make you laugh and cringe at the same time.” Shows are Dec. 3-18, Fridays-Sundays at 8 p.m., at the Alley Theater, 1716 N. Illinois St. Tickets are $15. Due to strong language, adult content and some nudity, you must be 18 years or older to attend. For info and reservations: 926-8888.