Dickens’ classic tale gets a comic tweak

Posted on November 28, 2017 by Sonoma Valley Sun
Melissa Claire, an award-winner for her work in Sonoma Arts Live’s “Becky’s New Car,” returns for the holiday farce “Inspecting Carol.”
Melissa Claire, an award-winner for her work in Sonoma Arts Live’s “Becky’s New Car,” returns for the holiday farce “Inspecting Carol.”

A small, harried theater company mounts its annual production of “A Christmas Carol” and things very quickly go hilariously wrong. Happily that’s not the story for Sonoma Arts Live, but it is the plotline of the company’s next production, the comedy “Inspecting Carol.” The farce opens a three-week run at Andrews Hall on November 29, with 11 shows through December 10.

Jaime Love, SLA’s executive artistic director, said the play, with its manic, show-within-a-show construction, is very much in the style of the spirit of “Waiting for Guffman” and “Noises Off.”

With its eccentric characters, absurd plot twists and one-liners, it’s also the prefect tonic – or perhaps well-spiked egg nog – for an upbeat evening.

“After the fires, we all need some emotional healing,” Love says. “And there’s nothing like a good belly laugh with a group of friends to make you feel instantly a bit better, a bit brighter, and a bit more hopeful.”

Director Carl Jordan, who recently won a Marquee Theater Journalists Association award for the SLA production of “Becky’s New Car”, says “this is an all-star group of actors playing this holiday farce and promises spectacular fun as the biggest holiday chestnut of them all ‘A Christmas Carol’) crashes and burns.”

The cast includes Melissa Claire, as the crazed, overworked Artistic Director of the theater company. Claire is an expert at crazed, having recently won the MTJA award for her star role in “Becky’s New Car.” She is joined by Alexis Christenson, Nick Christenson, Nellie Cravens Laura Davies, Rich Thompson, Rick Love, Dorian Lockett, Ty Schoeningh, Grey Wolf, Michael Walraven, and Larry Williams.

The plot follows the (fictional) company’s harried efforts to mount its yearly, and very tired, fundraiser production of “A Christmas Carol.” When they mistake an amateur actor for a National Endowment for the Arts inspector with possible grant-making powers, the farce is on.

“This lively gem of a show will be great entertainment for the whole family!” promised Jordan.”

The show opens Wednesday November 29 with a special VIP evening complete with Dickens-era desserts, with The Victorian Choir’s “Comfort and Joy” at 6 and the play at 7:30 p.m. The run continues for 10 performances November 30, December 1-3, and December 7-10, evenings at 7:30 and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $22-$37. Rotary Stage in Andrews Hall, Sonoma Community Center, 276 E. Napa St.




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