A Holiday Show with a Twist…
And a Chance to Help Manna Food Center
by Lennie Magida
This year, why not take the traditional holiday theatrical cocktail…and add a twist?
If A Christmas Carol is the annual on-stage tradition – and it certainly is for many of us – then Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge is most definitely the twist. And you can see why during the next two weekends, as Silver Spring Stage presents Christopher Durang’s distinctively, well, Durangian take on the Dickens classic.
Mrs. Bob offers something for a wide swath of audience members. As Star Johnson, director of the Stage’s production, puts it: ““If you love parody, you’ll love this. If you love ‘What if?’ stories, you’ll love this. If you love A Christmas Carol, but have always secretly poked fun at it in your head, you’ll love this.” (Note, however, that Mrs. Bob is not a show for young children.)
How does Mrs. Bob earn all its love? As you might guess from the title, it starts by taking Mrs. Cratchit from A Christmas Carol and putting her center stage. But instead of going through her meager existence with near-saintly good cheer, this Gladys Cratchit (played at the Stage by Julie Zito) is a resentful mom of 21 who hates her life and snipes at everyone – including long-suffering husband Bob (Peter J. Orvetti) and, yes, even Tiny Tim (Maria O’Connor). All she wants to do is get drunk and jump off London Bridge. Scrooge (Michael Sigler) finds her irresistible.
Other aspects of A Christmas Carol get equally off-kilter treatment. The Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Still to Come is a black woman (Yvonne Paretzky) who keeps landing in other stories when she tries to show Scrooge scenes about his life. Clarence, the angel from It’s a Wonderful Life (David Flinn, who also plays Jacob Marley’s ghost), turns up to show Mrs. Cratchit what would have happened if she’d never been born.
There’s music and wacky costumes. There are tons of laughs. It’s a bracing, rollicking approach to the holiday spirit.
And at Silver Spring Stage, there’ll also be something to love off-stage. At every Mrs. Bob performance, the Stage will be conducting a food drive to benefit Manna Food Center, which has been working since 1983 to end hunger in Montgomery County. So when you come to the show, please bring healthy, non-perishable food items to donate. The Stage and Manna thank you!
Silver Spring Stage’s production of Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge plays December 12-14 and December 19-21. Performances are on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Regular ticket price is $20, but $10 tickets are available for all performances on Goldstar.
Silver Spring Stage
10145 Colesville Road
Silver Spring, Maryland 20918