Dickens’ “The Chimes” focuses on the plight of the poor as it takes us on a different spirit-led holiday journey

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association. Although you’d never know it from all of the incarnations of A Christmas Carol you can find streaming this season, the tale of Scrooge’s redemption was far from the only one Charles Dickens ever set in the holiday season, and indeed is nowhere near the […]

There’s too much going on in Steppenwolf’s audio version of “Wally World”

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association. Steppenwolf’s new audio play, Isaac Gómez’s Wally World, is not a Christmas play despite the fact that it takes place on Christmas Eve. No, that date is most important to the plot for the chaos and confusion that it creates in the world of retail. […]

Dickens’ words are the stars of Writers Theatre’s “One-Man A Christmas Carol”

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association; photo by Joe Mazza. Writers Theatre’s Michael Halberstam has been performing an annual reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol since the 1992 founding of the theatre. But a video of him just standing at a podium reading the text, he understood, would not truly […]

George Bailey is saved again in American Blues Theatre’s “wonderful” Christmas show

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association For the last 19 years, Chicago’s American Blues Theatre has presented its own take on Frank Capra’s holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, but presenting it as a 40s-style live radio play with an audience (think Prairie Home Companion). This year, with COVID limiting everything, […]

Manual Cinema adds its own memorable flare to A Christmas Carol.

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association Manual Cinema, Chicago’s interdisciplinary theatre collective specializing in original adaptations performed live using paper puppets, music, etc., is without a doubt among the most inventive troupes in town. With their 2020 streaming production of A Christmas Carol, they may well have moved into “must-see” territory. […]