Over the Holiday Season, if you are looking to step away from the standards and experience a high-energy comedy that the whole family can enjoy, then Adventure Theatre MTC’s world premiere production of A Lump of Coal for Christmas is what you need.
Written by Norman Allen, (a Helen Hayes Award and Emmy Award recipient), and directed by Holly Twyford (also a Helen Hayes Award recipient many times over), the story follows a lump of coal, who has big dreams, and the kid who ultimately shows her how to achieve them.
Erin Weaver stars as the unfortunate but hilarious Lump of Coal. Weaver has a captivating presence and, with the constant singing, dancing, chasing, and non-stop shenanigans that the Lump of Coal endures, has also seemingly mastered the art of performing without the need to breathe. (Weaver is, like her director, is a multiple recipient of The Helen Hayes Award).
Playing the multiple characters that the Lump of Coal encounters on her journey to achieve greatness, is Judith Ingber. With deliberate absurdity she portrays a haughty theatre director, a kooky and ethnically confused Cook, and a pompous Gallery Owner. Ingber is a delight in each of these caricatures and is well-matched with Weaver’s energetic Lump of Coal.
Kevin Grieco plays Rufus, a disgruntled kid who, due to a family emergency, is left in the care of his unsympathetic Uncle Otis, played by Eric Messner, on Christmas Eve. Rufus and Uncle Otis’ slower-paced scenes create a balance that helps to maintain a sense of reality in the story.
The production team, which includes Set Designer Deborah Wheatley, Lighting Designer Jason Aufdem-Brinke, and Projections Designer Hannah Marsh, did a fantastic job with the set, creating rotating pieces that easily convert Uncle Otis’ living room into the various places that the Lump of Coal searches for her calling, but also provides unexpected palettes for lighting and projections throughout the show, which add a visual aspect to the story that feels almost magical.
A Lump of Coal for Christmas is a touching and hilarious show, full of song and joy, and all of the things this time of year calls for. Created and performed by an incredibly talented team, Adventure Theatre MTC has produced an original comedy that is sure to become an annual holiday favorite and tradition. It’s a holiday gift for everyone!
Running Time: 60 minutes, with no intermission.
A Lump of Coal for Christmas plays through December 31, 2015 at Adventure Theater – 7300 MacArthur Boulevard in Glen Echo Park, in Glen Echo, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (301) 634.2270, or purchase them online.