A Child's Christmas in Wales | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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A Child's Christmas in Wales



A Child's Christmas in Wales, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, at Victory Gardens Theater. This warmhearted hour-long offering includes a rich range of holiday fare--music, poetry, dance, and storytelling--from Dylan Thomas as well as other sources, most of it performed by David Darlow, Linda Gillum, and Stephen Spencer.

Damon Runyon's little-known story "Palm Beach Santa Claus" features a Kriss Kringle impersonator (a "bum" chosen for being "fat") who plays Cupid by artfully mixing up presents at a swanky Christmas fete. Runyon's wonderfully seedy characters are far from New York but still embody the master's mockery. To Tom Farrell's musical accompaniment, Paul Christiano and Laura Gates of Melissa Thodos & Dancers perform Thodos's rapturous duet, "Wistful," to E.E. Cumming's openhearted poem "Little Tree." An excerpt from Annie Dillard's "Feast Days: Christmas" does full justice to her pantheistic epic.

The title piece is a well-spun reading of Thomas's irresistible Christmas memoir. Each exquisitely chosen word creates imperishable images of snow in every comforting variety, bubbling gas lamps, delicate aunts, porcine uncles, and useful and useless gifts. This evocative time capsule is the perfect setup for the cider and cookies that follow the performance.

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