Roasting Chestnuts: Oy! It's Christmas | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Roasting Chestnuts: Oy! It's Christmas

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There's an added spark this year to the core material in the Noble Fools' holiday revue spoofing star-driven specials. At the show's center is Patricia Musker as smarmy big shot Gina Oswald: whenever the indefatigable Gina sings, Musker's mugging and tics milk every note for hilarity. The chorus--the eight Zeitgeist Family Singers--now have well-developed individual personalities, and their dancing is sillier than ever (kudos to choreographer Mark Goldwebber). The return of Anti-Clause and his cigar-chomping elf Chico is comically crass, and Mick Houlahan's bang-on ode to the Grinch should make anyone's Christmas. The only weak bits are the new sketches, performed almost exclusively by Jack Bronis and Mark M. Czoske as the off-color Catskills comedians who gave Gina her first big break: their borscht belt jokes just can't compete with parodic performances by the lively Zeitgeists and always sparkling Gina. Noble Fool Theater Company, 16 W. Randolph, 312-726-1156. Through December 29: Wednesdays-Fridays, 8 PM; Saturdays, 4:30 and 8:30 PM; Sundays, 3 PM; Thursday, December 26, 1 and 8 PM; Friday, December 27, 2 and 8 PM; no show Wednesday, December 25. $32-$36.

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