A Christmas Carol | Writers Theatre | Holiday Shows | Chicago Reader

A Christmas Carol

When: Fridays-Sundays and Tue., Dec. 23. Continues through Dec. 21 2008

Michael Halberstam's solo chamber theater version of Charles Dickens's famous tale recalls Dickens's own practice of reading his work aloud for paying audiences. It's too austere an approach to hold everyone's attention (there were several restive children at the performance I attended), but its charms include retaining the trenchant commentary that's usually excised in full productions. (One description of Scrooge maintains that "even the blindmen's dogs seemed to know him, and when they saw him coming would tug their owners into doorways.") Adam Friedland's sharp lighting effects add atmospheric gloom, while Halberstam's well-defined but understated character readings thankfully avoid the "'ello Ducky!" intonations some interpreters provide for local color. --Kerry Reid

Price: $30

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