Inspecting Carol | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Inspecting Carol

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Every time I see this 1992 backstage comedy, about a mediocre theater company enduring an NEA site visit and its annual production of A Christmas Carol, I find myself expecting it to be sharper and funnier than it turns out to be. The problem is that its creators, Daniel Sullivan and his unnamed collaborators at the Seattle Repertory Theare, fill their work with lots of deserving comic targets--oblivious directors, tin-eared NEA representatives--but pull back just when they should be lowering the boom, settling for safe, palatable jokes about egotistical actors and theater bloopers. Though director Marlon Barden captures much of the antic energy in this shallow farce and Gary McNulty makes the most of his character--a bored prima donna desperate to enhance the role of Scrooge--this low-budget production ends as leadenly as the toothless sitcom script. Through 12/19: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. Attic Playhouse, 410 Sheridan, Highwood, 847-433-2660. $16 in advance; $18 at the door.

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